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The Child Survival Journal Spring 2011
National Director Hilary Doe Director of Operations Tarsi Dunlop Editor in Chief Marcelo A. Ostria Editorial Board Charsaree Clay Matthew Eldridge Meghan Hussey Nidya Sarria Olivia Rodriguez Waverly Dolaman The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network A division of the Roosevelt Institute 455 Massachusetts Ave NW Suite 650 Washington, DC 20001
Copyright (c) 2011 by the Roosevelt Institute. All rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors. They do not express the views or opinions of the Roosevelt Institute, its officers or its directors. Cover: Hotel Rosario, Copacabana, Bolivia
The Child Survival Journal
The gaping inequalities between the developed and developing worlds are widely understood and the vast array of concepts and factors that contribute to such a gap have been widely studied in hopes of finding solutions. Several subsets within this global gap merit scrutiny not only by policy professionals and scholars, but also by our increasingly socially conscious youth enrolled in colleges and universities across the map. Child survival is one issue that can certainly be categorized as a consequence of this existing inequality. The mortality rate for children under the age of five is nearly fourteen times greater in the developing world. Every day 22,000 children die of preventable causes due to inequalities in basic education, healthcare, nutrition, and access to adequate sanitation methods. Current programs are substantially improving child survival, but much more can and should be done. The campaign promoting child survival is a call to action to save and improve the lives of children and promote healthy and productive families. The Child Survival Journal aims at fostering student-based research and presenting the ideas, theories and policy recommendations from engaged students. Youth across the nation display their advocacy toward child survival issues mainly through campaigns, education initiatives and fundraising efforts to help organizations dedicated to the cause. However, child survival advocacy also manifests itself through formalized research, which can result in effective policy recommendations for professionals to consider and debate. Thus, we invite you to read what youth voices have to say about the importance of improving the lives of children across the globe, and how we can work at ameliorating the causes that hinder child survival and the overall development of our world’s youth.
Table of Contents
Bridging Religious Divides to Build a Common Future: Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt
By Benjamin MacWilliams University of Maryland - College Park 5
Decreasing Restrictions for Grants to NGOs: A Reversal of the Anti-Prostitution Pledge
By Amreen Rahman University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Education in Pakistan: Impact of Inceased Literacy Rates
By Brittany Branscomb, Joelle Gamble, and Kyle Ueyama University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Children of the Congo: Memo to the Concerned
By Senait Abate DePaul University
Re-aligning Global Health Funding Priorities with Disease Burdens: The Case for NTDs
By Matthew Eldridge London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
A Comprehensive Approach to Eradicating Child Labor in the Bolivian Mines
By Marcelo A. Ostria University of North Texas
Diamonds are Not a Girl’s Best Friend: The Use of Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone’s Civil War
By Olivia Rodriguez Brown University
Building a Baby College in Athens, Georgia: The Importance of the Home Environment in Early-Childhood Development
By Elizabeth Allen University of Georgia
A Multidimensional Approach to Reducing Child Labor
By Marcleo A. Ostria University of North Texas
Achieving the Millennium Development Goals
By Erika K. Solanki University of California, Los Angeles
Conventional Problems and Alternative Solutions in Education and the Trafficking in Children in India
by Patricia Aliperti University of North Texas
Bridging Religious Divides to Build a Common Future: Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt
Benjamin MacWilliams, University of Mayrland - College Park Bringing together youth leaders from the Muslim and Coptic Christian communities in Egypt can begin to address the root causes of educational disparities and threats to communal security for Coptic children. The conflict between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt can be traced back to the seventh century.1 Discrimination based upon religious affiliation is the most significant factor driving this conflict today, and high levels of discrimination permeate many levels of Egyptian society. Coptic Christians are marginalized politically, often failing to win more than a handful of seats in elections to the 454-seat People’s Assembly, the Egyptian Parliament.2 As a result of poor political representation, state officials regularly hamper Copts’ ability to obtain ID cards. These state ID cards are necessary for Coptic youth to gain access to crucial social services.3 Key Facts
• Egyptian Copts are politically disenfranchised, winning only one out of 454 seats in the 2005 parliamentary elections. • Official government policies discriminate against Copts, including previous laws restricting church construction and repairs. • Copts make up around 10 percent of Egypt’s population, and represent the largest Christian community in the Middle East. • Coptic-Muslim tensions result in numerous violent clashes each year, including shootings and arsons. • One-third of Egyptians are younger than 14.
Aside from discrimination in terms of political representation and policy, Amnesty International has reported, “Egyptian authorities are not doing enough to protect… [Copts] or prosecute their attackers.”4 As a result of law-enforcement discrimination, violence against Copts, which includes shootings, arsons, and other clashes, continues to be an issue of concern.5 Other instances of discrimination have also been reported, specifically with regard to employment and admission to public universities.6 For Coptic youth under the age of 18, the current status quo will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on their individual and communal development. With decreased educational opportunities for children and continued violence inflicted on the community, future social stratification is likely. Discrimination against Copts, from political marginalization to education, is and will continue to be a threat to Coptic child development.
Egypt’s population is remarkably young; the median age is 25, and almost one-third of the population is younger than 14.7 As a result, Egypt’s political future, including CopticMuslim relations, is in the hands of its youth. If the current generation of Egyptians is brought up within the status quo, child development throughout the Coptic community will be stunted and the prospect of improving relations between religions would be slim. But if young Copts and Muslims are taught to respect one another and live togeth5
er peacefully, a drastic change is possible. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to begin developing young, moderate Egyptian leaders, both Copts and Muslims, who understand their shared past and common future. If this generation of Coptic and Muslim leaders can be brought up to understand the underlying human needs of the other, the issues of governmental discrimination and political disenfranchisement can begin to be addressed from the ground up and potentially break through to other levels of Egyptian society. In doing so, the Egyptian youth can have a positive impact on the future of child development in the country, opening new doors to educational opportunities and creating greater communal safety. As a starting point, this can be accomplished through a youth summit where Coptic and Muslim youth can learn conflict-management techniques and build a foundation for future interfaith dialogues and cooperation.
In order to create positive, long-term change to the status quo in Egypt, it is critical to engage Coptic and Muslim student leaders in a conflict-management workshop in which they can discuss their common history, future, and basic human needs. In such a workshop, each side could begin to humanize the other and understand that their futures as Egyptians are inexorably linked. Using the workshop as a starting point, the future of Coptic-Muslim relations in Egypt can be altered. This is a necessary condition for the improvement of educational opportunities and communal security for Coptic children throughout Egypt.
• With one-third of Egypt’s population under 14, bridging the religious divide at the student level will pay long-term dividends. • Copts and Muslims share common history and ethnicity—a starting point for building consensus and common ground. • Engaging with local partners will utilize local knowledge and expertise, laying the groundwork for a successful conflict-transformation workshop.
The workshop would engage two local partners, the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) and The American University in Cairo, utilizing local knowledge and resources.8 These local partners would help identify potential leaders in the larger Coptic and Muslim communities. A more liberal, understanding youth culture can be a catalyst for a less discriminatory, more open society as a whole, paying dividends for Egyptian youth and future generations.
1. Zeidan, David. “The Copts—equal, protected or persecuted? The impact of Islamization on Muslim-Christian relations in modern Egypt.” Islam and Christian Muslim Relations. 10.1 (1999): 53-67. 2. Ayubi, Nazih. “Political Revival of Islam: The Case of Egypt .” International Journal of Middle East Studies. 12.4 (1980): 481-499. Print. (486) 3. Egypt: Human Rights in Arab Republic of Egypt. 2009. Amnesty International, Web. 5/1/2010. 4. “Egypt: Egyptian authorities failing to protect religious minorities.” 12 Jan 2010. Amnestry International, Web. 14 Jan 2010. <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE12/001/2010/en/702db4a9-5123-4d26-bccbb46bcd1b190b/mde120012010en.html>. 5. Binyon, Michael. “Copts between the rock of Islamism and a hard place; The oldest Christian community faces harsh new pressures.” Times (London) 14 Nov 2009, National ed. Web. 6. “2008 Human Rights Report: Egypt.” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 25 Feb 2009. U.S. State Department, Web. 21 Jan 2010. 7. “Africa: Egypt.” The World Factbook. 12 Dec 2009. Central Intelligence Agency, Web. 10 Jan 2010. 8. The Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services. Web. 15 Jan 2010. 6
Decreasing Restrictions for Grants to NGOs: A Reversal of the Anti-Prostitution Pledge
Amreen Rahman, University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)
In order to improve the efficacy of global health programs targeting underserved populations such as the children of sex workers, and achieve the United States’ goal of increasing global security through the eradication of epidemic diseases, ideological restrictions on grants to NGOs should be removed in favor of a pragmatic approach. Numerous bills promoting foreign aid have mixed Key Facts preconceived ideologies and public-health initiatives. • 16 drop-in centers in In 2003 Congress passed the “United States LeadBangladesh were closed ership against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria when an umbrella NGO Act,” also known as the Global AIDS Act. Section 301 signed the pledge.5 of this legislation states that no funds should go to an • Brazil refused over $40 NGO that “does not have a policy explicitly opposing million in USAID grants 1 prostitution and sex trafficking.” Initially this requirebased on the Anti-Prostiment only applied to foreign NGOs. However USAID tution Pledge.6 expanded these funding restrictions to cover both U.S. and foreign NGOs. This expansion sparked a series of court cases that have resulted in conflicting rulings.2 The Anti-Prostitution Pledge affects not only the efficacy of NGOs, but the sex-worker population and children of sex workers as well. These children are particularly vulnerable due to malnutrition, lack of basic healthcare, societal stigma, and lack of access of education.
The vague and indeterminate wording of the pledge has forced many NGOs that deal directly with sex workers to refuse to sign it. NGOs must negotiate a level of trust with the sex workers in order to ensure the efficacy of their services, whether they be drop-in centers, counseling services, or education outreach. Research conducted by CHANGE found that directors of NGOs which aid sex workers say their biggest challenge is identifying and creating basic relationships with sex workers. Thus, for many of the organizations that offer sex workers a safe place to stay or access to empowerment programs, agreeing to the pledge threatens the relationships they built. In a testimony before a House subcommittee, the director of Global Rights suggested that judgment from an NGO is likely to drive a sex worker away from the NGO.3 Thus the pledge, in an effort to eradicate prostitution, drives the institution out of view, increasing the likelihood of trafficking and abuse. Many HIV/AIDS-focused NGOs are dedicated to sex workers in particular because of the high risk that sex work entails. As per public-health strategies, these NGOs focus primarily on harm-reduction strategies, so while the ideal is complete eradication of prostitution, harm-reduction strategies entail dealing with the immediate consequences of sex work.
Aside from the direct cutoff of funding, the Anti-Prostitution Pledge creates a “chilling effect” on NGOs in which they are wary to engage in any activities that can be misconstrued as “promoting prostitution.” Furthermore, many of these NGOs that target the sex workers provide the only health care available to this underserved population. With the worldwide rates of neonatal mortality remaining at high levels, access to adequate healthcare is crucial for furthering child-survival issues. Children of sex workers are more likely to turn to sex work due to social exclusion. Thus, key services for sex workers such as drop-in health clinics, contraceptive distribution, and educational outreach are avoided by NGOs who fear that their funding will get cut off. The Anti-Prostitution Pledge undermines the billions of dollars the U.S. has committed to global health and combating HIV/AIDS.
In light of the ambiguous language of the AntiTalking Points • Forging connections to sex Prostitution Pledge, the Department of Health workers who are already heavily and Human Services has proposed revisions to marginalized by society is a delithe wording of this policy by including further cate task that requires trementechnical and fiscal details concerning funding dous time and effort. 4 cuts. In the context of the recent repeal of • Sex workers, many of whom are the Global Gag Rule, this clarification actually young themselves or are the takes a step backward from furthering the principal caretakers for children, United States’ goals of global health and secuare a primary population at risk rity. Legislation should eliminate the pledge as of HIV/AIDS transmission. a requirement for USAID grants, and stipulate specific best practices involving the sex worker population. A harm-reduction-based methodology ought to be promoted to not only target the immediate consequences facing sex workers, but to prevent children of sex workers from turning to sex work themselves. In order to reengage NGOs with underserved populations of sex workers, upcoming foreign-aid allocation bills ought to highlight the gap that the Anti-Prostitution Pledge has left and allocate funds specifically towards this cause. This would entail creating a new initiative under USAID dedicated to engaging NGOs who have been denied or rejected USAID funding in the past on the basis of the pledge.
1.Center for Health and Gender Equality, “Implications of U.S. Policy Restrictions for HIV Programs Aimed at Commercial Sex Workers (2008), http://www.genderhealth.org/files/uploads/change/publications/aplobrief. pdf. (accessed February 2, 2010). 2. Ibid. 3. Ann Jordan, 2007 (Director, Initiative Against Trafficking in Persons, Global Rights Before the House Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism March 20, 2007, http://homeland.house.gov/ SiteDocuments/20070320165954-38416.pdf 4. OMB Watch, “How Will Proposed Anti-Prostitution Rules Impact Nonprofits?.” December 8, 2009.http:// www.ombwatch.org/node/10616 (accessed 1/1/2010). 5. Taimur Khan & Devika Iyer, “Critique of the Anti Prostitution Pledge and Its Global Impact (2007), http:// www.sexworkersproject.org/media-toolkit/downloads/20070330-BriefingPaperOnAnti-ProstitutionPledge. pdf. (accessed February 2, 2010). 6. Pathfinder International, “The Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath: Undermining HIV/AIDS Prevention and U.S. Foreign Policy.” 2006. http://www.pathfind.org/site/DocServer/HIV-AIDS3.pdf?docID=5981 (accessed 1/1/2010). 8
Education in Pakistan: Impact of Increased Literacy Rates
Brittany Branscomb, Joelle Gamble, and Kyle Ueyama, University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)
The U.S. can benefit from a partnership with the Pakistani government to improve literacy rates in the country. Promoting education and Pakistani literacy can be an effective tool for combating terrorism while also helping children in the region. By working with the Pakistani government, the U.S. will engage a cooperative way of improving civilian wellbeing. Since 1950, starting with the U.S.-Pakistan Mutual Defense Agreement, the United States has sent numerous military and economic aid packages to Pakistan, but aid for education usually falls by the wayside. Near the end of the Carter administration, all but food aid was cut off from the country after a uranium-enrichment facility was discovered. However, from 1980-1990 the U.S. sent over $5 billion in aid, as the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan became the preferred method of providing U.S. funding for anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Following the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, U.S. military and economic aid to Pakistan once again shrank considerably.
• From 2001 until when the Obama administration took office, roughly 2 percent of U.S. aid to Pakistan was designated for education. This amounts to less than $2 per Pakistani child. Of the $7.5 billion aid package President Obama signed last October, only $2 billion was intended for “focused humanitarian and social services.” The Pakistani government would like to increase the nationwide literacy rate to 66 percent by the end of 2010. The Pakistani budget for education for 2009-2010 was 2.6 percent of the total budget.
• After the September 11 attacks and through the end of 2008, the U.S. once again has given over $10 billion in aid to Pakistan, with $7.83 billion going towards military assistance and $3.1 billion being allotted to domestic issues such as food aid. However, only 2 percent of US aid since 9/11 has been directed to education. In October, President Obama signed a $7.5 billion aid package to form a strategic partnership with Pakistan, with $2 billion being dedicated to humanitarian and social services. This aid comes with prohibitions on nuclear proliferation, supporting terrorist groups, and funding attacks in neighboring countries. These stipulations have increased tensions within Pakistan, with Pakistani military officials fearing that increased U.S. involvement threatens Pakistani sovereignty.
By designating 26 percent of the $7.5 billion aid package in 2009 to humanitarian and social services, the Obama administration has emphasized the importance of supporting civilian wellbeing in the region, including through education. Still, U.S. education aid to Pakistan amounts to only about $2 per child. Recently, Pakistani Prime Minister Gillani Sahab stated that he wanted to increase the country’s literacy rate to 66 percent. However, many rural areas have literacy rates as low as 10 percent. Moreover, the Pakistani education infrastructure is seen as ineffectual for the nation’s children, with
“ghost teachers” collecting paychecks but not leading the country’s classrooms or the pupils in them.
“By improving literacy rates and increas• ing job opportunities, education addresses several of the root causes of terrorism”, a 2004 House resolution stated. Currently, the United States is providing funding to Pakistan for military anti-terrorism mea• sures. However, this resolution suggests that terrorism can be fought through nonmilitary means as well. The United States can specifically allocate part of the $2 billion for social services in the total aid package that was signed in October towards improving the Pakistani literacy rate. By funding national literacy goals that the Pakistani government is already dedicated to, Pakistanis will not think the U.S. is threatening their nation’s sovereignty, and the United States will further its goal of strengthening the U.S.-Pakistani partnership. The U.S. should be cautious and not give Pakistan a generic block of aid, but rather specify that the money given go directly toward improving literacy. This will help create an educational foundation for the children of Pakistan to build upon, while also acting as a safeguard against possible government misspending.
The Pakistani government is attempting to increase literacy in the country, but education infrastructure remains weak. The U.S. can help by specifying that aid money go towards helping to raise the literacy rate, as opposed to giving an unassigned block of money that lacks accountability and can be wasted. This will benefit the youth of Pakistan, giving them an educational foundation to build upon, and serve the U.S. government’s national-security interests given the link between education and a decrease in terrorism.
It would be in the United States’ interest to make a commitment to aid Pakistan’s efforts to increase its literacy rates, given education’s link to decreasing terrorism. Doing so would create more opportunities for Pakistani children while also serving U.S. national security interests. An open dialogue between the U.S. and Pakistan should be fostered on what methods are being taken to increase Pakistani literacy rates and what entities are involved in the process. The U.S. should also encourage the Pakistani Education Ministry to consider investments in educational technologies for public schools.
1. “U.S. Aid to Pakistan by the Numbers.” Center for American Progress. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/08/ pakistan_aid_numbers.html (accessed May 14, 2010). 2. Rogin, Josh . “Exclusive: New details on Obama’s $7.5 billion aid package to Pakistan | The Cable.” The Cable | FOREIGN POLICY. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/12/16/exclusive_new_details_on_obamas_75_billion_aid_package_to_pakistan (accessed May 14, 2010). 3. “Literacy Rate & Education Statistics In Pakistan — Pro-Pakistan.” We discuss all about Pakistan — Pro-Pakistan. http://www. pro-pakistan.com/2009/09/08/literacy-rate-education-statistics-in-pakistan/ (accessed May 14, 2010). 4. “108th CONGRESS, 2d Session, S. CON. RES. 114” GovRecords.org. http://www.govrecords.org/sconres-114-rfh-concerningthe-importance-of-the.html (accessed May 14, 2010). 5. “U.S. Aid to Pakistan by the Numbers.” Center for American Progress. 6. Rogin, Josh . “Exclusive: New details on Obama’s $7.5 billion aid package to Pakistan | The Cable.” 7. “Literacy Rate & Education Statistics In Pakistan — Pro-Pakistan.” We discuss all about Pakistan — Pro-Pakistan. http:// www.pro-pakistan.com/2009/09/08/literacy-rate-education-statistics-in-pakistan/ (accessed May 14, 2010). 8. Ibid.
Children of the Congo: Memo to the Concerned
Senait Abate, DePaul University
The difficulties of reducing child exorcisms in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are apparent due to the ideological framework of the Congolese community, which believes strongly in child demon possessions through witchcraft. However, local and international communities can make efforts to reduce this practice by countering church corruption and working to reduce the DRC’s increasing rate of poverty. Economic difficulties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo exist side-by-side with witchcraft practices that affect the lives and security of countless children. Many are charged with witchcraft and therefore brutally beaten, burned, and even slain as a way of exorcising “demons” that are said to have possessed the child and in turn created economic and social dilemmas within society. If a crop fails to harvest during its season or if there has not been an adequate amount of rain, a child will be blamed for the stagnation. While the country has decent child-protection laws, many people, including governmental officials, believe in the idea of witchcraft, and therefore allow the illegal practice to continue without repercussions.1 The issue is not the belief in witchcraft per se, Key Facts but rather the implementation of anti-witch• In Kinshasa, of the 15,000 chilcraft prejudices against these young innocent dren that are living alone on the individuals when there are laws prohibiting streets, 70 percent of them have such abusive processes that have come to been outcast due to witchcraft characterize the rituals. allegations.
One way to prevent anti-witchcraft violence on a more realistic level is to involve both international and local churches in the campaign to protect these children. The Congolese belief in witchcraft stems from the people’s strong religious ideologies intertwined with Christianity. The international community has already taken steps to raise awareness of the issue, and Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out against using the name of Christ to justify these child abuses.
• Children with disabilities, medical/ health conditions, and those who are outspoken are often targeted because they are seen as disobedient to society’s standards. • Child exorcisms combine Congolese Voodoo rituals with the modern teachings of Christianity. • Pastors who perform the rituals are often unaffiliated with any particular church and are unskilled in religious teachings.
Church corruption also needs to be combated. Clergy members have a great amount of influence within communities and they are often the first to pinpoint a child. They force vulnerable parents to pay large sums of money to diagnose their child, which almost always leads to the child being exiled or killed.2 The case of child exorcism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is unique in that the controversy lies within the ideological backgrounds of many of the Congolese people.While a portion of the national community believe children are the source of their economic problems, it is actually members of the clergy that perform these exor11
cisms and are the source of the “witchcraft” crisis. Instead of criticizing the Congolese culture, the international community must work together to express its extreme concern over human-rights violations and the overall rights of the child.3
The widespread societal acceptance of child-witchcraft exorcisms makes it virtually impossible for the Congolese themselves to advocate for victimized children. Local and national anti-exorcism activists need the help and contribution of the international community in order to stress the importance of child protection and awareness.
• Local and international humanitarian organizations and activists must negotiate with Congolese churches and clergymen because they have the most influence on the local community. • A stable source of income for poverty-stricken families can help reduce the likeliness of a family giving up their child to cut their expenses. • Church corruption must be combated—some members of clergy will target a child knowing that a family will pay large sums of money to diagnose the child.
1. Democratic Republic of the Congo. 2008. The African Report on Child Well-Being-Country Briefs.
2. Health and Human Rights blog, The. http://www.hhropenforum.org/2009/07/child-witches/ (accessed May 25, 2010). 3. Democratic Republic of the Congo. 2008. The African Report on Child Well-Being-Country Briefs.
[no author] 1999. Congo Witch-Hunt’s Child Victims. BBC News, December 22. U.S. Department of State. 2008 Human Rights Report: Democratic Republic of the Congo. 2008 Report on Human Rights Practices. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/af/118995.htm (accessed May 22, 2010).
Re-Aligning Global-Health Funding Priorities with Disease Burdens: The Case for NTDs
Matthew Eldridge, The London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
Already inherently vulnerable due to their poverty and lack of access to healthcare, children in developing countries are additionally exposed to the many public health risks associated with Neglected Tropical Diseases, This makes them unnecessarily susceptible to physical and cognitive impairment, and further compounds their vulnerability. Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) include parasitic worms, river blindness, schistosomiasis, and other afflictions, and together threaten between 1 and 1.2 billion of the poorest people on Earth. These diseases not only result in mortality but also carry a high rate of morbidity and disproportionately affect children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, impairing them both mentally and physically with lifelong impacts. Despite this massive disease burden and the existence of good medicine and knowlKey Facts edge regarding most of these diseases, • According to the World Health NTDs remain neglected and represent only Organization (WHO), over 1 billion a fraction of the global health expenditures people suffer from NTDs with milrelative to the “big three” diseases of HIV/ lions more at risk.3 AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Adequately • Medicine for fighting NTDs can addressing NTDs will not only relieve a mascost as low as $0.20 per year per sive burden on the poorest communities and child.4 ensure the survival of millions of children, • The WHO identifies 15 key NTDs such as river blindness, lymphatic it will also contribute to improved quality filariasis, and schistosomiasis.5 of life and productivity for countless other children over the length of their lives.
NTDs typically have relatively minimal mortality rates, but their high morbidity rates, associated stigmas, and long-term impairments are causes for great concern. These diseases threaten roughly one-sixth of the world’s population yet remain “neglected” because those at risk do not represent a high-value market or influential force. Nonetheless, many viable treatment options do already exist, and as the Carter Foundation’s efforts with guinea worm have proven, eradicating or eliminating many of these NTDs is a realistic goal given enough funding and commitment. There are two reasons why NTDs are of specific concern for children. First, parasitic worms, which together make up the largest proportion of NTDs, typically have the largest loads in young children, causing massive damage and pain. Secondly, and related, the long-term cognitive and physical impairments and impacts of these diseases place infected children at a permanent disadvantage for the rest of their lives. The loss of productive potential related to NTD contraction makes NTDs particularly guilty of helping to perpetuate a cycle of poverty.
Recent efforts have provided the promise of a new direction for tackling NTDs. New initiatives are linking pharmaceutical companies with public entities in an attempt to channel donated medicines to the afflicted and gain new funding from sources such as the Gates Foundation.1 Perhaps most promising, the Obama Administration has budgeted millions in support of NTD eradication. Ensuring that this money is included in the recurring budget is paramount.2 . The only drawback of this and other efforts is that they may come at the expense of funding for the “big three” diseases.
• In addition to death, NTDs cause morbidity, stigma, and decreased productivity and earning potential. • NTDs have a disproportionate impact on children, with long-term cognitive and physical impairments perpetuating the cycle of poverty. • Effective and affordable treatments for many NTDs already exist, yet funding and political will is missing. • Tackling NTDs is an achievable endeavor that can improve the lives of hundreds of millions.
It may seem unconscionable to argue in favor of a decrease in funding for any of the big three diseases—their funding levels are already less than optimal—yet global health funding is a limited resource and it makes the most sense to distribute it where it will do the most good. There is incontrovertible evidence that in comparison to their share of global disease burden, NTDs are massively underfunded at present. Improving childhood health in a development context is extremely difficult so long as NTDs remain an ever-present threat. Furthermore, addressing this threat to juvenile health has long-term benefits in that it can improve the future productive and learning abilities of millions. Shifting a portion of global health funding—which can be aimed at new research and development as well as public health improvements, sanitation upgrades, and distributions of existing vaccines—towards NTDs will bear immediate results that could reach far beyond the direct elimination of NTDs. New public-health capacity, increased economic potential, and an intangible yet essential improvement in the quality of life for millions are all potential indirect outcomes.
1. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Bill and Melinda Gates Urge Global Leaders to Maintain Foreign Aid.” http://www.gatesfoundation.org/press-releases/Pages/2009-world-economic-forum-090130.aspx (accessed 20 March 2010) 2. Hohlfelder, Erin. “The President’s Budget: Neglected Tropical Diseases.” http://globalnetwork.org/ press/2010/2/2/president’s-budget-neglected-tropical-diseases (accessed 20 March 2010) 3. WHO. Neglected Tropical Diseases. WHO. http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/en/ (Accessed 20 March 2010) 4. Joanne Silberner, “Making the case to fight schistosomiasis. National Public Radio, http://www.npr.org/ templates/story/story.php?storyId=7806977 (March 12, 2007) 5. WHO.
A Comprehensive Approach to Eradicating Child Labor in the Bolivian Mines
Marcelo A. Ostria, University of North Texas
A multifaceted approach to reducing child labor in the Bolivian mines must follow a human-rights perspective that empowers the child and the community. Bolivian children working in mines face hazardous conditions and miss school to provide for their families. Social and economic structures condoning child labor perpetuate this exploitation. Bolivia also ignores U.N. efforts to eliminate extreme forms of child labor.1 This cycle of exploitation makes parents complicit in the abuse of children who are robbed simultaneously of their childhood and of foundational knowledge garnered in childhood schoolrooms. This cycle is inconsistent with the democratic ideals that the United States should promote in its foreign policy and outreach.2 Key Facts
The solution must address prevalent attitudes in Bolivia about the propriety of • child labor. There should also be a more constructive channeling of U.S. foreign aid to Bolivia in ways that educate the Bolivian • public about the international illegality of child labor. The current Bolivian incentive program, “Bono Juancito Pinto,” grants a stipend that is the equivalent of U.S. $15 to children in grades one through six. U.S. foreign aid could be geared toward subsidizing larger stipends to families of older children (grades four through six) because older children more frequently leave school to enter the mines.3 Moreover, U.S. efforts to encourage regulated microfinance institutions in the mining towns would generate income-producing alternatives for the parents, and especially for unemployed mothers. Grassroots organizations should likewise assist in the creation of facilities that enhance elementary education and more advanced opportunities in mining areas, following steps taken by the Bolivian NGO Instituto Politécnico Tomás Katari, which even within urban areas has developed supplemental pedagogical workshops for child laborers in the Potosi-Oruro region.4 The role of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the U.S. is essential to achieving this reform. Consider, with respect to Bolivian gold mining, an endeavor already funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to the tune of $4,480,000, tackling the elimination of child labor in Bolivian gold mines.5 Similar progress is essential for the 120,000 Bolivian children involved in small-scale mining.
Child labor in mines is one of the most exploitative and hazardous forms of child labor in the world. Children are attracted to working in the mines in Bolivia because of the payoff can be significant. Certain mining towns in Bolivia do not regard child labor as a problem, but rather as a societal role.
A major obstacle resides in popular Bolivian resistance to the notion that child labor comprises either abuse or a human-rights issue. That state of denial remains a formidable deterrent to reform. As long as this conceptual problem remains, administrative and legislative measures will inevitably fail. Talking Points
• Empowering the families of the child laborers by providing alternative income opportunities (such as microfinance institutes) will cause a decline in child labor. • Grassroots organizations should work with the Bolivian government to create better incentives for children to stay in school. • Children cannot view their child-laborer status as their inherent role in society.
1. Personal e-mail correspondence with Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze, former President of Bolivia and current Professor of Law and Politics at the Catholic University in La Paz, Bolivia. Correspondence ranged from June 2009-present. 2. Canadian Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI). (October, 2008) Child Labour in the Mining Sector in Bolivia: the Children’s Perspective Final Report. 3. United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor- Bolivia, 27 August 2008. Online. UNHCR Refworld, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/48caa460c.html [accessed December 14, 2008] 4. Instituto Politécnico Tomás Katari (IPTK). Iván Ramiro Arancibia Araoz, Executive Director. Sucre, Bolivia. E-mail correspondence, December 2008 – January 2009. 5. United States Department of Labor, Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Project Status – Americas. Online available at: http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/project-americas.htm [accessed December 12, 2008]
Bhargava, P. (2003) The Elimination of Child Labor: Whose Responsibility? Thousand Sage Publicancions Inc.
Cook, K. [Bolivia] Children who work in tin mines. Series on Child Labour and Exploitation in Latin America and the Caribbean. World Vision International— Latin America & Caribbean Regional Office. San Jose, Costa Rica. Ensalaco, M., Majka, L. (2008). Children’s Human Rights—Progress and Challenges for Children Worldwide. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of International Affairs. (2008, October). I-Lab:Bolivia. Washington, D.C. http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/media/reports/iclp/tda2001/bolivia.htm United States Department of State. (2008). Summary and Highlights: International Affairs Function 150. Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Request. Washington, D.C. Weston, B. (2005). Child Labor and Human Rights—Making Children Matter. London, UK: Lynne Rienner Publishing. William Van Pelt, Manager, U.S. Fund for UNICEF Public Policy and Advocacy office. Washington, D.C. Personal Interview. 13 Oct. 2008.
Diamonds are Not a Girl’s Best Friend: The Use of Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone’s Civil War
Olivia Rodriguez, Brown University
Africa has been the heart of resource wars throughout the last fraction of the 20th century. The country of Sierra Leone is a prime example of a nation torn apart socially and economically by the discovery of the diamond in 1930. The systematic exploitation and trading of diamonds within Sierra Leone has led to serious violations of human rights, a breach of international law, and a horrific 11-year civil war. This paper will explore how one country’s greed for diamonds and wealth affected its inhabitants, and more specifically, its youth population. It will be argued that resource wars such as that experienced in Sierra Leone directly contribute to the use of child combatants. Three problems will be explored: 1) the appeal of child soldiers to the military forces, 2) the appeal of the army for these willing youth volunteers, and 3) the question of whether children are victims of these conflicts or solely responsible for the atrocities they commit, and the views that our society holds in relation to this debate.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. This slogan, tempting the women of the world with the allure of the sparkling gem, has not only robbed our wallets of millions of dollars spent on these luxuries, but paradoxically deprived an entire generation of its childhood. Africa has been the heart of resource wars throughout the last fraction of the 20th century as the continent’s political leaders have cast aside the social, financial, and political injustice suffered by their native citizens, to place economic demands as a principal priority.1 Sierra Leone is a prime example. The people of Sierra Leone seek a peaceful life; yet instead face the consequences of the discovery of the diamond on their soil in 1930. This discovery gave birth to one of the most horrendous civil wars the country has experienced.2 This paper will explore how the avarice of Sierra Leone’s government for diamonds affected the inhabitants of the country, and more specifically led to youth involvement in the civil war. It will be argued that resource wars directly contribute to the use of child combatants, and that children are more apt to be victims than perpetrators in the case of youth soldiering. The paper will explore three problems: 1) the appeal of child soldiers to the military forces, 2) the appeal of the army for these willing youth volunteers, and 3) the question of whether children are victims of these conflicts or solely responsible for the atrocities they commit, and the views that our society holds in relation to this debate.
Sierra Leone’s Diamond Industry
The rich diamond industry in Sierra Leone sparked a desire in numerous political parties for economic control of the trade. After the initial discovery of the stone, the Sierra Leone government began to work directly with a South African-based company by the name of De Beers Diamond Corporation. At the time, this business managed the sale
of diamonds worldwide, and was additionally responsible for setting the international price of these precious jewels. The company remained economically tied to Sierra Leone through the mid-1900s, with exclusive rights to both a central office in the capital city of Freetown and access to offshore mining. Under these privileges, the company was able to mine anywhere from one to two million carats annually from 1937 to 1998. By the end of the 20th century, Sierra Leone had produced roughly 55 million carats, worth the equivalent of 15 billion U.S. dollars. Ironically, even with the constant influx of money, Sierra Leone was still titled the poorest nation in the world by the United Nations Development Index. How was it possible that with the abundance of such a sought resource, Sierra Leone could be essentially penniless? The collapse of the country’s economic structure, which led to discontent amongst the natives and to the eventual civil war that would erupt in the African nation, can be specifically attributed to the crime that plagued the diamond industry beginning in the 1950s.3 The overall stability of Sierra Leone began to deteriorate once the country became home to an illicit mining business. By the mid-1950s, close to 75,000 illegal miners had settled within the country’s central mining locations, as Lebanese traders initiated a large-scale smuggling movement of the gems. This movement surfaced as the Sierra Leone government attempted to intensify security measures in the principal excavation site known as the Kono District. As a result, Lebanese smugglers shifted the trading of diamonds into the neighboring country of Liberia. This country, colonized by many unlawful diamond traders, soon became a pathway for the stolen stones of Sierra Leone. De Beers even went as far as to abandon its activity in Sierra Leone for a central office in the Liberian capital of Monrovia. The company claimed it was not selling any Leonean diamonds, yet that is highly unrealistic given the evidence that most of the diamonds in Liberia originated from Sierra Leone. Proof of this illegal trade can be clearly seen in the transactions monitored by the world’s center for rough diamonds, the HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant or Diamond High Council) in Antwerp, Belgium. The HRD is unique in that it registers diamond imports from the source they were last collected from. Thus, diamonds taken from Sierra Leone could possibly be documented as originating from Liberia, Guinea, and even Israel. This strategy ineffectively measures the correct export of diamonds from each individual country. For instance, between 1994 and 1998, annual Liberian exports were measure by the HRD as being over 31 million carats. Yet, Liberia’s diamond capacity is theoretically supposed to be, at most, 150,000 carats per year. It is inconceivable that every diamond delivered from the country was truthfully Liberian. Additionally, in 1998, the government of Sierra Leone registered that a small 8,500 carats were exported, while the HRD counted imports of approximately 770,000 carats from Sierra Leone. The numbers indirectly display the transactions that occurred between Sierra Leone and Liberia, as the illegal activity continued under the shadow of civil war in the 1990s. This explosion of illicit activity would not have been possible without the election of Siaka Stevens as prime minister in 1968. As a populist, Prime Minister Stevens converted the diamond business from an economic issue to a political matter. Throughout his term, he encouraged the smuggling and the underhand trade of diamonds, and did
anything to keep the industry under his control. In 1971, Stevens founded the National Diamond Mining Company that in effect nationalized the diamond business and entrusted all significant mining decisions to him and his Lebanese liaison, Jamil Mohammed. Under Stevens’ government, legitimate diamond exports dropped from a high of two million in 1970, to an ultimate low of 48,000 in 1988.4 Not only did the constant focus on this resource battle lead to a large-scale economic struggle, it brought about a discontent among the population of Sierra Leone, as their needs and aspirations were increasingly neglected by the government.
A feeling of disappointment with the overall efforts of the government caused discontentment among the majority of the Sierra Leonean population. However, many historians have argued that political discontent alone is not enough to sustain a war as aggressive and longstanding as the Sierra Leone civil war.5 Ian Smillie, a member of the Heart of the Matter study, stated, “Only the economic opportunity presented by a breakdown in law and order could sustain violence at the levels that have plagued Sierra Leone since 1991.”6 The Heart of the Matter study stemmed from discussions held in 1998 by the Sierra Leone Working Group (SLWG), an informal organization based in Ottawa. The group analyzed the civil war in Sierra Leone from an economic perspective, holding the diamond industry central to the conflict. The SLWG urged Canadian public and government officials to invest interest in the economic aspects of the conflict, hoping to shed light on the problematic diamond industry internationally.7 When Prime Minister Stevens retired in 1985, he handed all power over to Joseph Momoh, a weak and inefficient leader who allowed corruption to thrive under his rule, only further overlooking the nation’s declining economy. One of the main issues affecting the country at the time was that the government lacked the international aid to combat the continual smuggling of commodities. By the 1980s and 1990s, Liberia and Guinea were actively engaged in the trafficking of weapons, recreational drugs, and money into Sierra Leone in exchange for the stones. The increase in this illegal trade only served to facilitate criminal activity between these neighboring countries, and reinforce Sierra Leone’s deteriorating regional influence over the diamond trade. In addition, the country’s currency was losing value as uneducated local miners sold their findings to scheming dealers for a price significantly lower than the worth of diamonds in the world market. Sierra Leone was left with little money to support the needs of its own citizens, especially as dealers smuggled away its treasured resource to bordering regions. Naturally, factions began to form within the country as aggravation rose. One such party, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), would come to be the instigator of the civil war. The RUF consisted of exiled students and radicals, seeking to mobilize the youth in a movement to overthrow Momoh and his All People’s Congress. This rebel group, led by Foday Sankoh united with President Charles Taylor of Liberia in the hopes destabilizing Sierra Leone. By the 1990s, Liberia had become the principal center of diamond-related crime in Africa. Due to the country’s major dealings in smuggled diamonds from Sierra Leone, it was also able to finance and train the RUF. The RUF began to commit unspeakable acts in the name of justice, and the struggle for control of the diamond industry turned into a civil war. Yet this war was more than a mere cover for criminal activity, it was also a rebellion of the nation’s youth.8
Social structure in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s social system in the period before and during the Civil War was based on the idea of peripheral capitalism. Under this principle, the numerically dominant working class was deprived of the benefits and privileges of a welfare state, while the elite had access to schooling and a generally higher standard of living. This social structure placed an additional burden on traditional middle-to-lower-class families as they attempted to cope with the lack of provisions and government support. The children of Sierra Leone were most affected by this . For example, in an attempt to promote the education of a foster child, the government established a program to send individuals to live with affluent families who held access to quality education. However, this system was ineffective as corruption usually led to the exploitation of foster children as nearslaves. They were made to do their chores, help the biological children study, and were often punished with beatings, little food, and a lack of medical care. The children who suffered under these circumstances ultimately left these situations, heading for other villages. Poor families sent children as young as three to perform tasks such as washing dishes and sweeping, for local businesses. In turn, this led to the increase of street children who had been forced out of the educational system. From this evidence, it is clear that class played a large role in the rise of child labor in Sierra Leone. The development of street children in Sierra Leone is a prime demonstration of the huge toll resource wars take on children. These children became the largest source of RUF child soldiers. The children usually fell into one of two street categories, according to anthropologist Alfred Zack-Williams: children of the street who live alone outside family structures, or children of the street who spend the day working but connect with their families in the evening. They became a major target of RUF raids in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the rebels attempted to expand their army. The rebels targeted poor villages on the outskirts of Sierra Leone, often close to the border of Liberia where they were somewhat protected by Liberian President Taylor. They captured and trained a number of border-zone street youths easily plucked from their poverty-stricken families, isolated schools, and diamond mines in these deserted areas.10
Analyzing child recruitment
To address the question of why both the RUF and the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces (RSLMF) chose to focus a large part of their war efforts on the recruitment of child soldiers, we must analyze the characteristics of children as well as the historical context of the civil war. According to the Zack-Williams’ analysis examining the factors that bring youth into military conflict, children are the ideal soldiers for a violent rebellion force.11 Since they still have yet to fully develop, their minds are easy to manipulate, making them fearless and daring combatants.12 With the loss of family ties, the young soldiers seek out attachments among the older mentors of the army, forming a loyal connection to the struggle. In addition, these young children often relate the act of warfare to childish games of combat amongst comrades. In this sense, the children are more likely than adults to enthusiastically enter into real combat because of their false sense of reality. Older soldiers with wives and children have much more to sacrifice and tend to retreat, while the younger children technically have little to lose besides their innocence and life.13
Appeal of the Armed Forces
In a country where half of the population is represented by eight-to-14-year-olds, voluntary youth involvement in a civil war in unavoidable.14 The country’s demographic age distribution made it difficult for Sierra Leone to combat this violent social movement. As demonstrated above, the nation’s population as a whole felt a sense of political and social exclusion by the government. The youth struggled against an even greater sense of alienation, as their age prevented their involvement in any form of legislative negotiations. This adolescent feeling of distance can be tied to Sierra Leonean youth’s willingness to participate in the brutal war. In some cases, regardless of the brutality of the army, young children preferred the wild freedom they experienced during wartime.15 One combatant who served under the government sector stated: “I like it in the army because we could do anything we liked to do. When some civilian had something I liked, I just took it without him doing anything to me. We used to rape women. Anything I wanted to do I did. I was free.”16 In another sense, both fighting sides appeared to provide a stepping-stone for the youth to make their voice heard in society. The RUF claimed that it was: “Fighting for democratic empowerment to enable us to reclaim our sense of ourselves as enterprising and industrious Africans, using the history of our glorious past to create a modern society contributing to world peace and stability through advancement in agriculture, architecture, medicine, science and technology, industry, free trade and commerce.”17 In calling on the young generation to take up arms in what seemed like a loyal fight for justice and simple rights such as education, energy, healthcare, and water, the RUF was able to claim some followers. In addition, the RUF appealed to many farmers and youth of the proletarian class, whose families had been pulled into destitution as a result of the mining industry’s successful competition with agriculture. The RUF encouraged all children whose parents had been economically mistreated by the then ruling All People’s Congress (APC) as a result of the diamond trade, to join its movement. The commodities offered by the RUF were also a large contributing factor that made children eager to leave their lives of poverty for the security of the militia. Many of the orphaned and street children in Sierra Leone joined the rebel side for the benefits of food, a job, and the lasting sense of safety from this violent faction. The breakdown of the traditional family structures, with the deaths of parents as a result of the war, often left children with no other option but to join either the RUF or the RSLMF.18 Not surprisingly, the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Force (RSLMF) was the side most child volunteers fled to. The RSLMF offered a way for a different voice of the youth to be expressed—the voice of opposition to the war crimes of the RUF. The civil war in Sierra Leone was largely characterized by the maiming and unnecessary torture of innocent civilians by the Revolutionary United Front. Its abduction of citizens,
forcible recruitment of civilians to mine diamonds, and the rape of women witnessed by husbands and children, unquestionably formed a desire for retribution. Interviews conducted by anthropologists Krijin Peters and Paul Richards demonstrate why the experiences of young combatants prior to their enlistment in the army, caused them to passionately seek vengeance. One specific interview with a female combatant, who joined the RSLMF at the age of 14 when her family system was destroyed by the RUF, explains this desire: “People in our household were scattered or killed by the rebels, and the house was destroyed. Afterwards I could only find my grandmother. When the government soldiers came I wanted to join to get revenge. … No, we don’t bury them, because they are the enemy. They come to spoil our land. They come to disturb our future as well. They even kill our people, so that’s why we kill.”19 In addition to seeking revenge for the atrocities committed by the RUF, child combatants often volunteered their time to the RSLMF in hopes of receiving educational benefits following the war. The civil disorder in Sierra Leone had deteriorated the nation’s already-disheveled education system. According to the interviews conducted by Peters and Richards, many ex-soldiers hoped to continue their education with the aspiration of bettering the society around them. In one interview, a boy who fought at the age of 13 with the RSLMF, stated that he “would like to attend school … After that I want to do motor engineering … I want to become self-reliant.”20 The children who were forced into war realized at an early age that they were not able to rely on the government to protect and educate them. Through this strife, their childhood innocence was robbed as they realized the importance of self-sufficiency. Education is referenced in yet another interview conducted with a young boy who began carrying ammunition for the RSLMF before being captured by the RUF: “How long did you stay with the rebels? Two months. What did you do when you were with the rebels? I learned nothing. When were your legs wounded? When I was attacked. Someone told them that I was the brother of a lieutenant. So I thought that they wanted to kill me. But they chopped my feet. That is all I wanted to ask. Is there something you want to say? Yes. I want you to help me with the training in carpentry. I am not a carpenter. But I hope I will be able to help you in some other way. A final question: If you had three wishes what would you wish? I want to learn for carpentry so I can rebuild my home. My village is burnt down. After that I want to go to school. Then I want to do business.”21 Interviewees repeatedly returned to the theme of educational ambitions. The economic failure, government corruption, and the inadequate structure of Sierra Leone’s
social institutions had destroyed the learning systems within the country. Children were forced to walk miles to school and as a result of this weak system, had not been effectively prepared for the realities of modern life. As one interviewee noted, “too much illiteracy … our brothers in Sierra Leone don’t know their rights.”22 In addition, the military is generally looked down upon in Sierra Leone. Unlike in other countries where the uniform is seen as a symbol of prestige, military recruits are often seen in Sierra Leone as uneducated dropouts. Therefore, many of the children forced into this field leave feeling the need to somehow prove their worth to society. Most, as we have seen, plan to do this through schooling. On the whole, the ex-combatants simply desire the benefits of a good education system. They hoped that after the war, with ties to the government faction of the army, they would get that opportunity. In joining the RSLMF, child soldiers succumbed to the lesser of two evils in order to avenge their hardships and work to better their society in future decades.23
Brutality against Child Soldiers
This paper has thus far analyzed the forced recruitment of children, and the appeal of the army to those searching for specific desires ranging from revenge to education to a substitute family structure. All of these factors at first glance seem to tie children to this social and political movement. However we cannot help but wonder why, even after realizing the cruelty of these military factions, children do not look for an escape from the cycle of bloodshed. Many anthropologists have explored this idea, attempting to understand how individuals become connected with a conflict. In the case of the civil war in Sierra Leone, acts of oppression and domination executed by the rebel forces and the government army may have shifted the concept of the army from one of individual soldiers to a political representation of supremacy through torture, sexual violation, and murder. In other words, children came to feel united with the army based on the acts committed against them by the opposing side, as a violation of their liberties. The practice of amputating limbs served as an RUF attempt to remove the power of self from the individual. The rebels would taunt, “The government states that the power is your hands, but now we have your hands”.24 This phrase not only challenged individual rights, but also forced the body to physically become the property of a political institution, the army. Children in these rebel groups lost their identity and became symbols of the cause, with fake names and permanent burns of the acronym RUF across various body parts.24 There is never a physical or mental escape from the idea of fighting as an institution. The influx of drugs into the war scene, which resulted from the diamond trade with Liberia, also served as a way to disorient a youth combatant’s sense of self.25 Both the rebel army and the military forces working for the government encouraged and often forced underage alcohol and drug use to promote fear within the youngsters. Interviewees reported smoking an abundance of marijuana and preparing for combat with amphetamines. One specific child soldier alludes to the intention of the drugs: “Oh yes, the lieutenant used to provide us cocaine. I put it here, on my nail, which is very long … [the nail] of my thumb, and sniffed it. It was free, for us to fight. Just before the fight.”26
Not only were these children exposed to drugs at an inappropriately young age, many of the atrocities they committed were in fact under the influence of drugs, leading to an almost out-of-body experience. As a result, one must ask: are they to blame for the lives they took, or should the blame be placed on the military leaders that fail to protect their innocence? This question will be addressed further at the end of the paper. In addition to indiscriminate physical violence and drug use, female combatants were regularly the subjects of military rape.27 One elaborated on her experience: “Rebels rape any women soldiers they catch ... [Government] soldiers raped us sometimes in the forest, but they are more careful. … The rebels, they all join in. Did you fear to become pregnant at the war front? I swallowed gunpowder as a contraceptive. Who showed you that? No one. ... I discovered it for myself. But I first took it to become brave for battle. If you take gunpowder before you sleep you will wake with red [fierce] eyes.” 28 A young girl pregnant with the child of a rebel soldier, in the same sense, can be forever tied to the civil war conflict. Not only do the child soldiers lose their innocence, they themselves become victims of the military violence.
Political Resolutions and Prosecution
The Civil War ultimately came to a halt in 1996, with the election of Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah, a former United Nations official.29 Under the rule of this bureaucrat, Sierra Leone finally saw the peace it had been searching for throughout the entirety of the last three decades. The Lomé Peace Accord, established between the government and RUF leader Foday Sankoh in 1999, was the first opportunity presented to apply humanitarian laws to the subject of child soldiering. Along with granting amnesty to every rebel combatant and permitting the RUF to become a political party, the agreements eventually established two major institutions: the Sierra Leone Special Court and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The Special Court was formed in 2001 for the purpose of charging individuals who bore the greatest responsibility in the massive recruitment of child soldiers. For the first time in history, justice was being served on behalf of the youth, mostly under the age of 15, who had been stripped of their lives or freedom by leaders of the rebellion. Various humanitarian groups, including the Straight-18 Group that aimed to prevent child recruitment under the age of 18, petitioned for this court. The United Nations compromised, and the court was able to put 15-to-17-year-olds on trial. However, the Sierra Leonean government and the civilians who had endured the evils of soldiers under the RUF, were understandably not enthusiastic about the idea of granting amnesty to all children. Even though these ex-combatants would be brought before the law, they were already protected from imprisonment under the Kabbah government. According to the civilians of Sierra Leone, justice was not served. The TRC, the second aspect of this effort to recognize the rights of children, was established to deal with all matters involving the testimonies of children. Eventually, it was
assigned as the principal location for all child offenders, as Kabbah realized that the Special Court could not try even the majority of those who partook in the war. Finally in 2003, after the entire demobilization of the RUF under the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the Special Court announced its decision to end the prosecution of any individual below the age of 18. As a result, the TRC became the sole opportunity for youth offenders to testify. Yet much to the chagrin of many humanitarian groups, the TRC failed to aid Sierra Leone by studying the abuses faced by child soldiers. Under the TRC, superficial interviews were conducted and the testimonies gathered from young ex-combatants were, and still are, held in secrecy. In addition, as a result of the amnesty law, many children neglected to attend the TRC. Overall, there are only an estimated 10 percent of reports from TRC reports children. In this sense, the TRC failed to affect the lives of the youth after the war. Even the establishment of the court was somewhat insignificant for the citizens of Sierra Leone, who simply wanted justice to be served through the trials of leading criminals. The TRC was a way for the international community to feel that they abetted the country in some way. The process did not actually make a significant difference on the young people who, though they escaped the punishment of prison, were forced to rely solely on Sierra Leone’s integration methods of foster care and child-protection agencies.30 Tied up in the debate over how to deal with child soldering is the question of whether to place blame on or defend the evils committed by the youth of Sierra Leone under the institutions of war. According to a humanitarian view, children are not able to simply volunteer their service to an army. The argument posed by UNICEF, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, and other international groups states that children are only ever enrolled in the military because of the economic, social, and political pressure placed on them by society.31 This position, as also discussed by Zack-Williams, assumes that children join the military simply for the security of meals, healthcare, and safety. The argument is highly supported, as the downfall of the economy in Sierra Leone forced many abandoned children to join the armed forces.32 However, humanitarian groups go further saying children simply “believe, feel, sense,” while adults “know, understand, judge, decide.” A part of the humanitarian community’s case against prosecuting children consists of the idea that children are unable to make the same “free choice” as adults.33 Yet adults often join the army for the same reasons as children. An adult may join the ranks for the same benefits of medical attention, food, and the protection of armed forces. The humanitarian argument assumes that it is not feasible for children to be developed enough to volunteer on their own behalf as a means of survival. However, there is evidence that this is not always this case. As the ethnographic data in the interviews conducted by Peters and Richards suggests, children in Sierra Leone did in fact join the military for specific reasons of survival, and with a hopeful understanding that they could collect the benefits of an education following the war.
Overall, the story of the Sierra Leonean civil war leaves us with the question, who should be held responsible for the outcomes of the war? As this paper and many anthropological studies have shown, the resource war in Sierra Leone did in fact directly
attribute to the use of child soldiers. A cycle beginning with a greed for diamonds, leading to an economic failure and political corruption, and ending in the recruitment of youth combatants as a result of poor protection by the nation, led to many of the brutalities of the 11-year civil war. Now that the conflict is over, there still consists in the country a blur between children, soldiers, and victims. As humanitarian groups around the world fight for the rights of child soldiers, citizens of countries like Sierra Leone who have watched their nation be torn apart by these children, find it difficult to embrace the idea that they are the victims. There can be no single individual or armed force solely responsible for the evils committed by children. Only the government, the institution that holds the power to protect a nation, prevent these conflicts, and liberate the people of its nation, can be assigned the blame.
1. Klare, Michael T. 2. Smillie, Ian & Gberjie, Lansana & Hazleton, Ralph 3. Smillie, Gberjie, Hazleton. 4. Smillie, Gberjie, Hazleton. 5. Smillie, Gberjie, Hazleton. 6. Smillie, Gberjie, Hazleton. 7. Smillie, Gberjie, Hazleton. 8. Smillie, Gberjie, Hazleton. 9. Zack-Williams, AB 10. Peters, Krijn & Richards, Paul. 11. Zack-Williams 12. Rosen, David M. 13. Zack-Williams 14. Peters & Richards 15. Dickson-Gómez, Julia 16. Zack-Williams 17. Zack-Williams 18. Zack-Williams 19. Peters & Richards 20. Peters & Richards 21. Peters & Richards 22. Peters & Richards 23. Peters & Richards 24. Henry, Doug 25. Henry, Doug 26. Zack-Williams 27. Peters & Richards 28. Peters & Richards 29. Peters & Richards 30. Peters & Richards 31. Rosen 32. Rosen 33. Zack-Williams 34. Rosen
Dickson-Gómez, Julia. Growing up in Guerrilla Camps: The Long-Term Impact of Being a Child Soldier in El Salvador’s Civil War. Ethos, Vol. 30, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), pp. 327-356. Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association . Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3651878 Henry, Doug. Violence and the Body: Somatic Expressions of Trauma and Vulnerability during War. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Sep. 1, 2006), pp. 379-398. Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/ stable/3840534 Klare, Michael T. Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum. Published by: Metropolitan Books, 2004. Peters, Krijn & Richards, Paul. Why We Fight’: Voices of Youth Combatants in Sierra Leone . Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 68, No. 2 (1998), pp. 183-210. Published by: Edinburgh University Press. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1161278 Rosen, David M. Child Soldiers, International Humanitarian Law, and the Globalization of Childhood. American Anthropologist, Vol. 109, No. 2, In Focus: Children, Childhoods, and Childhood Studies (Jun., 2007), pp. 296-306. Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4496643 Smillie, Ian & Gberjie, Lansana & Hazleton, Ralph. The Heart of the Matter: Sierra Leone, Diamonds, and Human Security. Stable URL: http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/2001/pac-sie-jan00.pdf Zack-Williams, AB. Child Soldiers in the Civil War in Sierra Leone. Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 28, No. 87, Civil Society, Kleptocracy & Donor Agendas: What Future for Africa? (Mar., 2001), pp. 73-82 . Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4006694
Building a Baby College in Athens, Georgia: The Importance of the Home Environment in Early-Childhood Development Elizabeth allan, University of Georgia Abstract
Children in Athens-Clarke County (ACC), Georgia disproportionately live in homes characterized by predictors of poor educational performance. These indicators include a low household income, a single parent, or parents with low levels of academic achievement, and nationally, students who live in these households disproportionately drop-out from high school, receive low grades, and perform poorly on national tests. Relevant Athens statistics illustrate that student performance falls below national standards as the characteristics of many Athens households would suggest. The academic struggles of many Athens children are partially attributable to the deficit of responsive parenting that is correlated with at-risk households. Scientific research demonstrates that during the early years of a child’s life, responsive parenting supports children’s language, cognitive, and social-emotional development. Cognitive development during the first years of a children’s life have long-lasting academic repercussions, with implications for their personal and professional life in adulthood. This paper proposes that Athens-Clarke County implement a “Baby College,” which provides responsive-parenting workshops for at-risk families in ACC. Studies at universities across the country indicate that early-childhood intervention results in tangible improvements in at-risk children’s academic performance. ACC already provides strong center-based enrichment programs for at-risk children, and a “Baby College” would address the home environment component of intervention, complementing Athens’ existing programs for children. While this policy is specific to the needs of the Athensarea community, children everywhere need a supportive environment for appropriate maturation. As young children generally spend most of their time at home, the home environment is a critical factor in any policy aimed at improving the development or security of children.
Children in Athens-Clarke County live next door to a top-40 public university, the University of Georgia, and yet their academic performance is well below the national average. The most recent standardized-testing results for eighth-grade math placed Athens’ scores an average of 12 percentage points below the Georgia average. Furthermore, only 25 percent of Georgia eighth-grade students perform at or above grade level on national math exams (See Figure 2).1 Athens’ high dropout rates, low test scores, and small percentage of students pursuing higher education contribute to the poverty and the low standard of living endemic to the county. Households with limited economic resources, single parents, or parents without a GED are prevalent in Athens. Children from households with these characteristics are more likely to have poor academic achievement throughout their educational experience. Additionally, families with these risk factors disproportionately do not engage in
responsive parenting, a type of parenting crucial to early brain development. During a child’s infant and toddler years, this type of parenting promotes cognitive, language, and socio-emotional skills that are important building blocks for future academic achievement. To change household behaviors and create awareness about methods to promote development during infancy, Athens-Clarke County should implement a “Baby College” that provides three years of workshops every other month for parents of infants and toddlers. This program will create homes conducive to the brain development of children and improve at-risk children’s academic performance. The benefits of higher academic achievement in Athens-Clarke County will spill over throughout the county. Children who perform well in school will find better and higher-paying jobs. The cascading effects of higher educational achievement have the potential to increase the standard of living for Athens residents and break the cycle of poverty that exists in much of the Athens community.
The Science of Brain Development
The science of brain development explains the strong influence of a child’s home environment on academic achievement. Humans are born with brain nerve cells, called neurons, and synapse connections between the neurons that determine mental processes. Yet “this is just a framework,” according to Dr. Judith Graham, a human development specialist at the University of Maine. “A child’s environment has enormous impact on how these cells get connected or ‘wired’ to each other.”2 Young children’s brains engage in a process called “pruning.” The brain strengthens synapse connections that affect frequently-used brain cells, but allows infrequently-used connections to fade away.3 In order to keep important synapse connections from disappearing, children must be immersed in an environment that stimulates brain processes used later in life. If a child’s home environment does not encourage the child to use synapse connections that are important for academic achievement, his or her brain may prune away these synapse connections, with negative implications for academic achievement in the future. The process of pruning and developing synapse connections is a continuous one, and a nourishing home environment can help children develop synapse connections that are important to future academic achievement. According to psychologist Lev Vygotsky, the period in “which a child can almost, but not fully, perform a task independently” is the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).4 During this period, children’s brains are almost ready to become fully independent in the task, but require assistance to reach the independent stage. They rely on a role model to provide “scaffolding” or support in order to break through to full independence in the task.5 Because parents spend such a significant period of time with their child, they are the most likely candidates for providing scaffolding. Therefore parent-child social interactions are critical for steady development.6 Additionally, children’s brains are most accepting of the support that scaffolding provides during certain ages, and their brains most efficiently develop certain skills during early childhood [See Appendix I]. As a result, scaffolding provided
during the early years of a child’s life is uniquely important for his or her future development. In order to maintain and build critical synapse connections, parents should create a home environment that supports their child’s development from one stage to the next.
The Effect of Parental Responsiveness on Brain Development
Responsive parenting defines the parent-child interactions that best create a nourishing home environment and maximize cognitive development in young children. Responsive parenting involves consistently responding to infants’ needs and engaging infants and toddlers in constructive play, verbal communications, and responses contingent on infants’ signals, such as crying or verbal requests.7 This technique provides scaffolding that infants need to progress in cognitive, language, and socio-emotional development at the most efficient rate.8 Without the scaffolding provided by responsive parenting, infants and toddlers are not as likely to develop buildings blocks for future academic achievement. Parent responsiveness also aids children’s cognitive development by increasing their security. Infants and toddlers have inborn curiosity and desire to improve their ability to interact with the world. However, infants need a stable environment for this biological process to effectively function and will feel insecure in an unresponsive environment.9 In unresponsive environments, infants will focus energy on meeting their basic needs in place of exploring, learning, and developing their cognitive skills.10 Additionally, unresponsive parenting does not give infants an incentive to improve their cognitive skills. For example, if an infant in an unresponsive environment learns the word for train, they have no assurance that their use of this word will win them their train toy. Conversely, children in responsive environments are confident that they can discover actions that will predictably produce their desired outcome.11 A child in a responsive environment has a stake in learning new methods for communication, a process that improves critical thinking, language, and socio-emotional skills. The Missouri Parents as Teachers Study (MPAT) illustrates the positive correlation between intervention into the home environment and development. Parents enrolled in the study received year-round, monthly home visits by trained and certified parent educators who provided information on ways for parents to aid their child’s development [See Appendix II].12 By the end of the program, the parents who received intervention had significantly more knowledge of responsive parenting and employed these techniques in their home. Children whose parents were enrolled in the program scored higher on all measures of intelligence and were more socially developed than the children in the control group.13
The Positive Effects of Responsive Parenting
Children are born with multiple possible trajectories for future academic achievement, and the home environment in which they mature has a significant influence on their academic achievement. Specifically, a home environment characterized by responsive parenting will give infants the scaffolding, security, and incentive to develop critical thinking, language, and socio-emotional skills. In a long-term University of Texas,
Houston study that followed two groups of at-risk children, one of which had received intervention aimed at improving parent responsiveness, researchers found a strong correlation between intervention that targeted improvements in responsive parenting and children’s academic achievement. The researchers observed that “warm, responsive parenting…provided consistently across early childhood, predicts optimal developmental rates for the child in both cognitive and social areas, into middle childhood.”14 Increasingly, however, certain demographics of the United States population disproportionately do not engage in responsive parenting. These “at-risk” households can be defined in many ways, but three risk factors that are most prevalent in Athens are a low household income, low levels of parents’ educational achievement, and single-parent households. Children who mature in these at-risk households are not as likely to develop the critical-thinking, literacy, and socio-emotional skills that will be important for their future academic achievement.
Responsive parenting provides scaffolding for critical-thinking skills that children develop during early childhood. Parent-child interactions that provide scaffolding for critical thinking include interactive play, contingent responses, and encouragement of exploration, and parents in at-risk households are less likely to engage their children in these activities [See Appendix III]. These interactions help children improve their critical-thinking skills and develop an understanding of several building blocks for future development, including cause-and-effect, creativity, an ability to deal with abstract concepts, the understanding of object permanence, problem-solving skills, and quantitative reasoning.15 Finding an adequate substitute for responsive parenting is difficult. Common substitutes, including watching television or isolated play, do not provide guided support and thus cannot replicate the internalization and enhancement of critical thinking that responsive parenting provides.16 Critical thinking and the concepts that children develop by practicing critical thinking have implications for future academic achievement. Parent-child interactions that aid the development in the above-listed areas prepare children for a school environment by improving their learning behaviors, learning readiness, and problem-solving skills.17 If children are prepared to practice these critical thinking skills when they enter kindergarten, they are more likely to develop those skills further throughout their education.18 Additionally, these critical thinking skills are positively correlated with academic achievement from kindergarten through junior year in high school.19
Language skills are developed most efficiently during the early years of a child’s life, and parents heading at-risk households disproportionately do not engage in the responsive-parenting techniques that foster language development [See Appendix IV]. Between birth and age three, a child’s brain is uniquely positioned to acquire and learn grammar, vocabulary, and conventions of verbal expression.20 Practices that help parents develop their children’s language skills include speaking directly to their child (even when the child does not respond), speaking frequently in the vicinity of their child, using correct grammar, and engaging their child in literacy activities such
as reading.21 Young children’s brains eagerly absorb this information. By age three, children have already established a significant proportion of the vocabulary that they will learn.22 At this point, children whose parents speak directly and responsively to them know 1100 words on average compared to the 500 words that children from language-deficient homes know.23 Thus, language development in early childhood is uniquely important for future language skills. Language gives children the tools for thinking about the future, evaluating possibilities, and thinking quickly.24 Children who enter elementary school with a head start in language will advance more quickly in class, receive superior attention from their teachers, and are often placed on a positive trajectory for educational success.25 These children will be predisposed to be more receptive to learning new vocabulary and better able to express themselves in written and oral communication.
Social and Emotional Development
At-risk families are also less likely to provide a nurturing and responsive environment that is one of the key components of responsive parenting.26 At-risk children are more likely to be rebuked by their parents, less likely to share their feelings with their parents, and less likely to receive encouragement from their parents. Parents who provide a nurturing and responsive environment support their child’s social and emotional abilities, including conflict mediation, self-esteem, and emotional expression.27, 28 Responsive parenting influences children’s socio-emotional development in two main ways.29 First, children learn how to deal with conflicts and problems largely from the way they observe their parents handling difficult situations. Secondly, parents who consistently interact with their child in a cold and disinterested way will lower the child’s selfesteem and discourage their child from effectively expressing and understanding his or her emotions. Children with strong social and emotional skills are more likely to actively engage in their studies, ask questions of their teachers, form intellectual bonds with their peers, and constructively deal with challenges.30 These same social and emotional skills that assist children in school will also persist into adulthood, enabling recipients of responsive parenting to confidently seek jobs, maintain jobs that require self-discipline, and network with helpful co-workers.31
Risk Factors for Poor Academic Achievement
At-risk families, or those families with low household incomes, low levels of parental education, or single-parent families, are less likely to engage in responsive parenting that promotes critical thinking, literacy skills, and socio-emotional development. Each of these components of development is an important contributor to a child’s academic achievement, and as a result, strong correlation exists between these risk factors and low educational achievement.
The household income of a child’s family predicts many measurements of academic achievement. A 1998 study by Dr. Greg J. Duncan, a professor of economics and education at Northwestern University, found that a $10,000 increase in a family’s annual income during the first five years of a child’s life “is associated with a 2.8-fold increase
in the [child’s] odds of finishing high school.”32 Among kindergarteners lagging behind in health, cognitive abilities, and social and emotional development, 55 percent come from families with annual incomes of less than $25,000 a year, compared to only 24 percent who come from families with annual incomes above $40,000 a year [See Appendix V].33 These children are also at increased risk of dropping out of school, receiving lower grades, and performing poorly on standardized tests. Children from impoverished families’ chances of repeating a grade are two times higher than those of their more affluent peers, and these children are also 1.4 times more likely to develop a learning disability.34
Parents’ Educational Achievement
Parents’ educational achievement also correlates with children’s tendency to struggle in school.35 Sixty-three percent of kindergarten-aged children who scored below average in tests of health, cognitive, and social and emotional development had parents with less than a GED or high school diploma.36 On average, 89 percent of the nation’s children graduate from high school, but children from families where neither parent graduated from high school graduate from high school at a much lower rate.37 Finally, compiled data from the National Center for Educational Statistics demonstrates that children whose parents have low educational attainment perform disproportionately poorly on standardized reading tests.38
Children from single-parent households are more likely to be placed in special education classes, have lower grades, and exhibit behavior problems.39 Only children living with both parents graduate from high school at a rate above 90 percent. Graduation rates for children living with single parents hover at 80 percent.40 Furthermore, children living in single-parent households receive lower test scores in math and reading than children living with married parents.41
Household Risk Factors and Student Academic Performance in AthensClarke County
Many children in Athens-Clarke County live in households that put them at risk of low educational achievement. Compared to other children throughout the country, these children disproportionately have a low household income, parents with low educational achievement, or single parents. These risk factors make many Athens children less likely to receive responsive parenting and more likely to perform poorly in school. High Levels of Child Poverty The poverty rate in Athens-Clarke County illustrates the challenges that the community faces. Athens-Clarke County is classified as a county in persistent poverty and is the fifth poorest county in the United States with a population above 100,000.42 Over 27 percent of Athens-Clarke County children live in households below the poverty level43 versus 20 percent in Georgia and 18 percent in the United States.44 Compounding the problem of poverty, many of those households above the poverty line still do not make
enough money to live comfortably. While the poverty line is $10,160 for an individual and $19,806 for a family of four, local costs of living in Athens are estimated to be between $29,709 and $37,962 a year. Consequently, a better measurement of poverty in Athens is 150 percent of the federal poverty line, placing 39.3 percent of the AthensClarke County population in poverty.45
Parents with Low Levels of Education and Single-Parent Homes
Athens also has high rates of parents with low levels of education and a high percentage of homes that are single-parent. ACC children are disproportionately born into homes in which the primary caregiver has neither graduated from high school nor received a GED.46 In 2007, 29 percent of children had mothers with less than 12 years of education,47 compared to the percentage for all of Georgia of 23.3 percent.48 Additionally, 34.5 percent of Athens-Clarke County children live in single-parent homes, and 30.4 percent live in single-mother homes.49 In all of Georgia, 25.6 percent of children live in single-parent households and 21.2 percent live with single mothers.50
Low Levels of Educational Achievement for Athens Children
The three risk factors discussed above correlate strongly with a lack of responsive parenting at home, and as such many Athens children are not receiving important development assistance during early childhood. The shortage of responsive parenting manifests itself in the low levels of academic achievement among Athens students, and students’ poor test scores can be partially attributed to the home environment in which they mature. For the past five years, third graders from Athens have scored below the average of all Georgia students in the state CRCT reading test (Figure 2). Dr. Edward Zigler, the Sterling professor emeritus of psychology at Yale University, claims that third grade in particular is “a turning point in children’s lives and their school performance. If children are behind then, their chances of ever catching up are next to nil.”51 This prediction seems to hold true for Athens-Clarke County. Over the last five years, Georgia students statewide have continued to outperform Athens eighth graders in tests of math and reading by over 10 percentage points (Figure 2). Additionally, in 2008, only 63.1 percent of Athens-Clarke County students graduated on time from high school, and Athens’ dropout rate is 7.6 percent as compared to 6 percent nationwide.52 More troubling, even those students meeting Georgia standards fall below their national peers. In 2007, although 81 percent of Georgia eighth graders scored at or above state standards on the CRCT math test, only 25 percent of Georgia eighth graders met national math standards.53
Current Early-Childhood Enrichment Programs in Athens-Clarke County
School Focus of Current Athens Initiatives The Athens-Clarke County Office of Early Learning recognizes the enormous benefits
of early-childhood education and provides three such development programs: Head Start, Early Head Start, and Right Start programs. Programs with a center-based child focus can only have limited results, however, because they do not solve the underlying problem: When at risk children go home, they are not immersed in a nurturing environment that promotes long-term cognitive development. Athens-Clarke County provides support for parental improvement, but workshops whose sole objective is improving the home environment do not yet exist. Responsive parenting provides cognitive stimulation, literacy activities and socio-emotional assistance for children. Because most children spend the majority of their time at home and do not have as strong an emotional attachment to their teachers as to their parents, responsive parenting must occur inside of the home for children’s development to reach its full potential. Supporting a constructive home environment for every child should be a core component of efforts to promote the development of young brains.
Early Head Start in Athens-Clarke County
While Athens’ Head Start, Early Head Start, and Right Start programs provide invaluable support for Athens’ children, they target an insufficient segment of at-risk Athens children. Head Start targets children aged four and above, after critical brain development has occurred or been stunted.54 Right Start provides literacy assistance for parents without a diploma or who do not speak English. These families certainly benefit from Right Start’s assistance, but the program only gives parents a foundation for responsive parenting and does not reach children with English-speaking parents who graduated from high school. Furthermore, a supportive home environment requires not only literate parents, but also ones who internalize the values of responsive parenting and implement this technique. Early Head Start targets children during their early sensitive periods and provides support to parents. However, this support does not focus on improving the home environment and thus does not provide targeted assistance for parents in at-risk households. As a whole, these programs are important building blocks for improving educational achievement, but they are incomplete. Angie Moon De Avila, Early Head Start coordinator for Athens-Clarke County, cited Head Start participants losing their gains over breaks and holidays as one of her largest concerns.55 While children in these programs often show impressive improvements in development, the gains often do not last after the program and Athens-Clarke County’s troubling education statistics persist. Additionally, because early-education programs do not partner with Athens’ households, they must compensate for development assistance that children are not receiving at home, a process that limits their efficiency and stretches their resources thin. If these preschool programs were combined with an intervention into the household environment, Athens children would receive constant assistance both at home and at school. This would enable them to make significant gains in educational achievement and potentially break the cycle of poverty in Athens.
The Harlem Children’s Zone: A Model for Change
Communities across the country are experiencing similar difficulties, but a few have established a framework for addressing the problems that exist inside the households
of at-risk families. One example of a successful program is the Baby College in the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, founded by Geoffrey Canada.56 The Harlem Children’s Zone is a comprehensive program that targets an ever-expanding number of blocks in the Harlem neighborhood. The program begins with a nine-week “Baby College” that is for the parents of children ages zero to three. The aim is to teach parents with limited economic resources responsive parenting techniques. As a result, the Harlem Children’s Zone is changing the entire culture of parenting in Harlem. Beginning at birth, parents begin to read, talk, hug and play with their children because they know that these small actions will aid their child’s language, cognitive, social, and emotional development. The program has produced positive results. A working paper by sociologist Will Dobbie and economist Roland G. Fryer of Harvard University found that “the HCZ is enormously successful at boosting achievement in math and ELA in elementary school and math in middle school.”57 In a community suffering from persistent poverty and low educational achievement, the Harlem Children’s Zone has helped 100 percent of third graders score at or above grade level in math.58, 59 Additionally, 93 percent of ninth graders who have gone through the HCZ program starting with the Baby College, passed the statewide Algebra Regents exam, and 90 percent of high-school seniors who went through the program were accepted into college for the 2009-2010 school year. Because many at-risk families in Athens live in public housing units and are predominantly African-American, the Harlem Children Zone’s model could be easily modified to fit the needs of at-risk families in Athens.
Athens-Clarke County should implement a “Baby College” modeled after the Baby College in the Harlem Children’s Zone. Parents will enroll in workshops that provide information on the benefits of responsive parenting and ways to improve their child’s home environment. A facilitator will lead these discussion-based sessions every other month for three years. A division in the Athens Office of Early Learning will be created to oversee implementation, curriculum creation, outreach, and program evaluation. Parents will be provided with several ways to register. If parents attend at least 75 percent of classes, the county will guarantee continued academic support, counseling, and childcare until their children reach kindergarten.
Participants in Baby College will be encouraged to bring all available parents, any additional caregivers, and their children. For the first 90 minutes, parents and caregivers will participate in a facilitator-led discussion. Meanwhile, daycare will be provided for the children. For the remaining half hour, parents will engage their children in facilitator-led interactions, where parents can practice the parenting techniques discussed earlier and ask the facilitator questions while he or she is on site. At the end of each workshop, parents, children and the facilitators will be served a meal. Ideally, the program will be able to recruit University of Georgia students to prepare the meal, but if this is not possible, the facilitator will have brought prepared food to the meeting.
The main part of the Baby College program will be a discussion-oriented class focused on responsive parenting techniques and ways to improve cognitive development in infants and toddlers. Every session, the facilitator will introduce age-appropriate ways to engage children and the statistics that support this type of engagement. Facilitators will encourage parents to be active members in the discussion by giving them opportunities to respond and encouraging parents to challenge the instructor by drawing from their experiences or ideas.60 Dr. Wolfe of Northern Illinois and Dr. Hirsch of Northwestern University have written about the importance of this format when conducting their own research on the effects of early intervention, and they believe that interventions should provide “opportunities for social networking, flexibility and adaptability of curriculum content, and emphasis on participants learning from each other.”61 The opportunity to discuss new ideas and successes with peers provides parents with more of an impetus to try something new than listening to a distant lecturer. The facilitator will encourage parents to try certain responses and activities at home, and follow up with parents at the next session concerning their attempts to implement these suggestions. The program will also be based on a philosophy of equality between parents and facilitators and will recognize parents’ instinctive desire to help their child succeed. The entire curriculum will be designed around a framework of partnering with parents. In this framework, parents are not labeled as “bad parents” in need of being fixed. Instead, facilitators explain the parenting techniques that are scientifically demonstrated to improve children’s academic achievement. Like any other piece of acquired knowledge, responsive parenting is not always intuitive and facilitators will not judge parents for not knowing of responsive parenting’s benefits. Amy Kay, director of the University of Georgia’s McPhaul Child Development Lab, emphasizes this approach in all of her work at Georgia.62 From her personal experience and academic work, she has found that when a facilitator combines his or her knowledge with the parent’s enthusiasm for the child’s future, they can create lasting and positive change.
The program will aim for classes of 10 to 20 families, but will accommodate up to 30 at any given session. Each session will have two facilitators that lead the discussion. If the program expands beyond 20 families, an additional instructor may be brought in and the groups divided in order to create an environment more conducive to discussion.
Length of Program
This program lasts during the time when responsive parenting has the largest impact. During a long-term University of Texas, Houston study, parent responsiveness and children’s cognitive development were measured from infancy to eight years, but parent responsiveness between the ages of six and eight did not appear to play a unique role in cognitive development. This finding suggests a unique role for parent responsiveness from infancy to early childhood.63 Based on this evidence, the Athens program will consist of 18 sessions extending over a period of three years, so that it reaches children between ages zero and three. Parents will begin attending sessions during pregnancy
and continue to attend until they have completed 18 sessions. New programs will begin every six months and occur every other month [See Appendix VI]. This schedule would provide support for parents throughout the early years of their child’s life, but does not demand an unmanageable time commitment for parents.
The program will target families with a child under one year of age and possessing one of the following indicators of risk: 1) Household income below 200 percent of the poverty line; 2) A parent or primary caregiver with fewer than 12 years of education; 3) A single-parent home. Parents are encouraged to register and attend classes before they give birth, but are allowed to begin the program any time before their child’s first birthday. Families with children between one and three are allowed to begin the program, but will be ineligible for the incentive of placement in Head Start after program completion.
Incentives and Program Benefits
Parents of the targeted demographic will be eligible to register for program benefits. Parents can register for the Baby College in a multitude of ways, including by mail, email, telephone, in person at the Office of Early Learning, with a staff member of a local hospital, or onsite before the beginning of a workshop. Registration will place parents on a call list that will remind them of the class one week and one day before the program. The program benefits for which registration makes parents eligible are the provision of diapers and two age-appropriate books at the end of every discussion session. If parents attend at least 75 percent of classes, the county will guarantee continued academic support, counseling, and childcare until children from their family reach kindergarten. A waiting list currently exists for the program, but the results of Missouri Parents as Teacher indicate a strong synergy between household intervention and Head Start. The linkage between these programs will create a pipeline for at-risk households to follow throughout the early lives of their children. Starting before the child is born, parents will begin learning ways to nourish their child’s brain development. Support for parent responsiveness will extend until the beginning of Head Start, and this program lasts until the beginning of preschool. Additionally, the combination of parent education and intensive preschool empirically leads to the greatest long-term improvements in cognitive abilities. In the Missouri Parents as Teachers study, Dr. Edward Zigler, professor of psychology at Yale University, found that “at third grade, 88 percent of poor children who participated with high intensity in both Parents as Teachers and preschool reached a benchmark level of performance on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Communication Arts test [the state-wide reading and literacy exam], as compared to 77 percent of poor children who had no involvement in either service.”64 These same gains were not found for children who had only attended preschool or whose parents only had responsive parenting training. While it is illegal to guarantee a spot in Head Start, the county can guarantee access to services that will replicate the benefits of using both Head Start and responsive parenting. After three years of Baby College, parents will have the tools that they need to continue to provide responsive parenting as their children participate in Athens’ preexisting pro38
grams, but the community will continue to provide support for these families.
Initially, these parenting workshops will be held in Athens-Clarke County’s 12 publichousing neighborhoods.65 These include: Parkview Homes; Parkview Extension; Broadacres; Rocksprings; Jack R. Wells; Hill and Chase; Nellie B; Bonnie Lane; Vine Circle; Denney Tower; College and Hoyt; and Town View Place. If 10 eligible parents cannot be found in one of these neighborhoods during the expected start time of a program, neighborhoods may be combined. If the combined neighborhoods are not within walking distance of each other, then transportation will be provided. The Athens Housing Authority runs these neighborhoods, and their cooperation will be required to procure space to host the programs. In the few housing communities without sufficient space for workshops, participants will be provided with transportation to available rooms in the building housing the Office of Early Learning.
Bureaucracy and Staffing
This program will require the creation of a division within the Office of Early Learning to handle hiring, administration, and curriculum design. The program will only need to hire two additional staff members who can work at the current Office of Early Learning. The additional staff will consist of one director, selected by the Athens Office of Early Learning, who will coordinate the program, resolve problems, conduct interviews, and review changes that need to be made to the program. The other staff member will primarily focus on outreach, but also conduct interviews, assist the director, and review the curriculum. By placing this division under the Office of Early Learning, the director will be able to utilize the resources that the Office of Early Learning already possesses. Additionally, this location will allow the Baby College program to capitalize on the proximity of the University of Georgia faculty, to whom it can outsource the core of the curriculum design. The director’s role will be to review and approve, but not design the curriculum. The Baby College staff members will hire program facilitators to conduct Baby College workshops. This allocation of responsibilities allows skilled parent educators to focus on education, and skilled managers to focus on program design, implementation, and funding. Facilitator recruitment is essential to program success. Facilitators must be sensitive, creative, and knowledgeable and effectively account for the cultural, social or economic differences between staff members and workshop participants.66 The director and assistant director will choose facilitators based on early-childhood development knowledge and communication skills, and facilitators will also be screened for enthusiasm. Preference will be given to candidates who came from at risk homes themselves. Facilitators will either be community volunteers, graduate-student early-childhooddevelopment interns, or past participants in the program. Most facilitators will be volunteers, but salaries will be given at the discretion of the directors and their budget. Furthermore, before leading a discussion, facilitator leaders will be trained in the best methods to communicate with families with limited income, low levels of education, or a stressful lifestyle. Additionally, facilitators must have a solid grounding in early-childhood development. They must know the curriculum for the day’s lesson, but also be
able to field all potential questions that a parent may ask. If facilitators fail to effectively lead workshops, they will not be asked to return. By hiring the most highly qualified facilitators, the Baby College will have the maximum impact on the maximum number of parents.
Outreach will be necessary to recruit parents. The Baby College in Harlem devotes eight of its 13 staff members to outreach.67 This magnitude of outreach is not required, but the two staff members that Athens-Clarke County will hire specifically for Baby College must devote significant resources and energy to reaching out to the community. One important recruitment location will be local hospitals that give prenatal care and deliver babies. A partnership with local hospitals would enable parents to register for classes directly through the hospital. Additionally, the Baby College will post fliers in the communities in which it holds sessions, churches, care centers, and elementary schools, as young children are more likely to have a pregnant mother. Furthermore, in certain areas door-to-door outreach will be helpful. Finally, the program can enlist the help of other service providers in Athens who can provide referrals. Potential sources of referrals are clinical workers who see pregnant women, Early/Head Start, Even Start, women’s shelters, and clinical-abuse treatment centers. These outreach programs will focus on building links with at-risk communities and service providers in order to form partnerships with parents and improve the lives of Athens children.
Additional Quality Assurance
The program also will be subjected to constant reviews to ensure that families are receiving the best and most appropriate advice. University of Georgia professors will be enlisted to help in the actual design of the program and the creation of appropriate lesson plans. Several professors are already involved in pro-bono work in Athens, but the program could also offer a research opportunity to measure the effects of early intervention. Extensive staff training will provide additional assurance and each facilitator will be observed by one of the program directors at least once a year. The program will also request parents’ responses. Parents will be asked to complete surveys on their expectations of the program during the first session. At the end of each year, they will be asked for reviews of the program. The surveys will solicit parents’ responses on ways they believe that the program could be improved, their favorite parts of the program, and how the program has changed their parenting behavior.
The Athens-Clarke County Office of Early Learning should submit a grant request to the National Head Start Office for an Early Head Start grant. The 2009 stimulus package allocated $1.1 billion dollars for Early Head Start initiatives.68 A Baby College aimed at improving responsive parenting fits into the national guidelines governing Georgia Head Start programs. These include the mandates to: “promote children’s relationships with parents through the implementation of two generational programs within Head Start programs;” “develop infant toddler initiative to promote education training around
0-3 early childhood programs;” “provide promising practices information to Head Start communities to support replication of successful models;” and “encourage the development of strong, healthy and supportive communities.”69 All of these goals could be accomplished by implementing a Baby College in Athens. The grant request should initially be for $246,800. Around 800 children are born households that make below 200 percent of the poverty line ever year in AthensClarke County. These households will be the main targets of the program. For the initial year, we could expect 400 families to participate at a cost of $617 per family based on the costs of the Missouri Parents as Teachers Program, which includes training of facilitators and incentives.70 This will equal a grant request of $246,800 in the initial year. Eventually, this number will triple as the program lasts three years for each family. These numbers predict an ultimate operating budget of $740,400. However, we could expect economies of scale and volunteer work by the University of Georgia to reduce this cost.
The most important benefit of this policy is the improved academic performance of Athens-Clarke Country children as a result of their increased cognitive abilities and the stronger bonds they form with their parents. Intensive early-childhood programs produce dramatic results that have been observed by analyses of the Texas-Houston Study, Missouri Parents as Teachers Program, Perry Preschool Study, and Harlem Children’s Zone. The Perry Preschool Study followed the lives of over 100 at-risk children, half of whom received intensive early-childhood intervention. According to the program’s most recent press release, “The group who received high-quality early education on average outperformed the non-program group on various intellectual and language tests during their early childhood years, on school achievement tests between ages 9 and 14, and on literacy tests at ages 19 and 27.”72 These children grew up to have superior job prestige, higher salaries, and a higher standard of living. Similarly, the Harlem Children’s Zone is changing an entire community in New York City by improving home environments. A Baby College that strengthens the home environment of at-risk families can expect similar results in Athens-Clarke County. Education has a positive correlation with increased income, lower crime, and improved health. The findings of interventions into home environments have also found strong correlations between income and improving the home environment. On average, a person with only a bachelor’s degree will make almost twice as much over the course of their lifetime as a person with only a high school degree.72 Education also lowers an individual’s chance of committing a crime, which helps both potential crime victims and those individuals who are saved from a criminal record and time in prison. A highschool graduate is five to eight times less likely to be incarcerated than a high-school dropout.73 According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, a 10-percent increase in high-school graduation would decrease the murder rate by 20 percent.74 Graduates of the Baby College will also receive health benefits from their participa41
tion. High-school graduates live an average of seven years longer than dropouts.75 They are more likely to use preventive care and schedule regular medical appointments. By improving children’s educational achievement, the Baby College will positively change the trajectory of Athens’ children’s lives.
Educational success for Athens children will have multiple spillover effects in the Athens community. First, these children will have the opportunity to work in better, higher-paying jobs. High school graduates earn, on average, approximately $7000 more per year and 20 percent more over their lifetime than high school dropouts.76 Consequently, the standard of living in the entire Athens community will rise, neighborhoods will have less crime, businesses will flourish, and this success will attract greater economic development in Athens. Increased economic development in Athens will help lift other families from poverty as it will create jobs and increase employment opportunities.77 Even those families who do not participate in the Baby College will experience the benefits of wealthier neighbors, better employment opportunities, and a culture of supportive parenting.78 Furthermore, the government and the Athens community will gain money in the long run from this policy. A cost-benefit analysis of holistic early-intervention programs performed by an economist and child psychologists demonstrates that these programs return seven dollars for every dollar spent.79 Schools will be the first to realize costsavings as a result of the policy. In fact, these savings are so profound that Rachel Zietlow, a former education policy analyst for the Council of State Governments, advocated investing in early-childhood education as a way to maximize the efficiency of states’ budgets. She writes, “Early childhood education is an important cost-saving investment that prevents delinquency, remediation and other high-cost problems later in children’s lives.”80 Special-education classes, holding students back a grade, and other remedial programs cost thousands of dollars. Each year that a student remains in school beyond 12 years will cost the school system an average of $9000 per year.81 The government will also benefit when these children enter adulthood. Increased educational achievement is correlated with a higher salary, and the government will eventually receive money from the income taxes of Baby College graduates. Finally, children who perform well in school are less likely to commit crime or rely on the government for public assistance once they reach adulthood. Thus, the government will save money from the decreased need of public services. All of these savings add up to equal a strong return on an investment in a Baby College.
One of the greatest challenges this policy is likely to confront is securing parents’ initial attendance and then retaining them. Almost universally, parents want the best for their children. Nonetheless, parents often do not perceive education classes as being worth the time it takes out of their busy schedules. However, incentives provided by the
policy should prove sufficient to initially attract parents. These include: a free meal, diapers, and book; and 90 minutes of daycare during the parents-only class. Furthermore, the significant resources dedicated to outreach will attract parents and give them an indication of the importance of their child’s home environment. Finally, the location of the program inside public-housing neighborhoods should reduce the inconvenience of having to travel longer distances to classes.82 In the Harlem Children’s Zone, the compelling nature of the information that the workshops provide is enough to retain parents, but other aspects of an Athens Baby College will also encourage parents to return.83 The Baby College will partially serve as a social event for parents and give them the opportunity to make friends who have children of a similar age and who live in geographic proximity.84 Parents can develop a support group in their neighborhood that can help with babysitting and discussing parenting issues. Baby College can capitalize on this sense of community, along with parents’ desire to help their child, to encourage parents to return to class and see their new friends.
Integrity of the Program
Another challenge will be ensuring that, in practice, the workshops are effective at increasing responsive parenting in at-risk homes. The policy contains several built-in checks on quality to address this challenge. The training of facilitators and preference for facilitators from the Athens community will provide an initial check on quality. During the program, the directors will observe workshops periodically and parents will provide evaluations to ensure that facilitators are effective throughout the workshop. Finally, the advisory role of University of Georgia professors will guarantee that the program delivers up-to-date and reliable information on the best parenting practices.
A Baby College will cost money. While $250,000 only represents a small portion of the Early Head Start budget, the opportunity costs will be money from another program. To receive a grant, the Office of Early Education will need to apply to the National Head Start Head Start Office for a grant, and ultimately this is a competitive process.85 Nonetheless, a Baby College in Athens is exactly the type of program in which Early Head Start is meant to invest. The program fills a hole in Athens-Clarke County’s educational programs, and the program will save money for the county in the long run. Additionally, current political conditions make an Early Head Start grant more likely. During his campaign, President Obama supported modeling the Harlem Children’s Zone in other cities.86 Furthermore, the stimulus package allocated an additional $1.1 billion for Early Head Start, almost doubling the number of families that it can serve.87 As a result, a favorable atmosphere exists for receiving funding for a Baby College.
A Baby College in Athens, Georgia has the potential to permanently change the trajectory of children’s lives. By changing the behaviors of at-risk households, this policy can finally address the root causes of low levels of educational attainment in Athens chil43
dren. The security of a child is ensured not only by physical protection, but also by his or her emotional, intellectual and social development. Encouraging responsive parenting will give children the support, stimulation, and security to explore the surrounding world, and as a result children will grow into more successful students. The integration of a Baby College with the school system currently in Athens has the potential to create a tipping point in the Athens community. If this generation of young children graduates from college, they will likely receive higher-paying jobs, and their own children will be more likely to live in an environment that allows them to succeed in school. Furthermore, this policy will result in a reduction in the number of costly remedial interventions that the school system must later implement, resulting in cost-saving benefits in the long run. Improved household standards of living will spill over and improve many facets of life in Athens. Children will learn more, families will live more comfortably, and poverty will decrease.
Appendix I The pruning of synapse connections is a continuous process and produces “sensitive periods” when a child’s brain is highly susceptible to the influence of his or her environment. These sensitive periods in the early years of a person’s life provide windows of opportunity for the development of motor skills, emotional control, vocabulary, spoken language, math logic, and musical skills. If a child does not reach a certain development milestone when the window of opportunities exists, they will find it relatively more difficult to develop the skill later in life. Thus, interventions to rectify this development delay will be more costly and may trade off with the acquisition of age-appropriate development, potentially placing a child in a cycle of delayed development and difficulty in school. Appendix II Parents were encouraged to engage in the responsive parenting-framework including the encouragement of reading to children, responding verbally to them, and providing a secure environment. These home visits worked in tandem with periodic group meetings with other families in the program and developmental screenings. The program was successful in changing parent behavior. Overall, parents in the MPAT group engaged more frequently in reading to their children; taking their child to zoos, libraries, and museums; discussing daily events; and displaying artwork, writing, and schoolwork. Appendix III Research conducted by the Society for Child Development found that low-income parents were less likely to take their children on outings; teach children numbers, the alphabet, and colors; interact verbally with their child; or limit the amount of television that their child watches. Mothers with low levels of education and single-parent households are also less likely to provide these types of interactions. Appendix IV Affluent mothers are twice as likely to read to their children three or more times a week than poor mothers. These wealthy families are also far more likely to own three or more books. Affluent families are also more likely to provide support for their child’s
communication development and are more likely to speak directly to their children and respond verbally to their children. Infants and toddlers constantly learn from “the interactions and experiences with the adults around them.” Appendix V To put these numbers in perspective, the median income of families with children was $47,700 in 2000, the year when Duncan published his study. Thus, one can conclude that over half of children from households earning half the median income struggle in school starting with their first day of kindergarten. Appendix VI As workshops focus on providing information specific to children’s ages, a six-month period in between new sessions raises the possibility that parents will have children six months apart and facilitators will struggle in providing sufficient information for every age level. Nonetheless, six months does not present an unmanageable difference in ages, and this age gap will be accounted for when designing the program so that topics encompass an appropriate age window. Parents can request supplemental instruction and materials from the group facilitator about their child’s specific needs.
Appendix VII (For Readers’ Reference) Early Childhood Indicators for ACC and Georgia
Albritton, Shelly. “Parents as Teachers: Advancing Parent Involvement in a Child’s Education.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association (2003): 1-83. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, “Profile for Georgia.” 2009.http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/ stateprofile.aspx?state=GA&cat=471&group=Category&loc=12&dt=1%2c3%2c2%2c4 (accessed 9/15/2009). The Annie E. Casey Foundation, “Profile for Athens-Clarke County.” 2009.http://datacenter.kidscount.org/ data/bystate/stateprofile.aspx?state=GA&loc=1955 (accessed 9/15/2009). Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marian J. and Marinus H. van IJzendoorn and Robert H. Bradley. “Those Who Have, Receive: The Matthew Effect in Early Childhood Intervention in the Home Environment.” American Educational Research Association 75, no. 1 (2005): 1-26. Barnard, Wendy Miedel. “Parent involvement in elementary school and educational attainment.” Child and Youth Services Review 26, no. (2004): 39-62. Barnes, Kitty and Geoffrey Canada. “The Baby College: A Look Inside.” http://www.hcz.org/press-a-publications/publications (accessed 9/20/09). Belfield, Clive R. “Early Childhood Education: How Important are the Cost-savings to the School System?” Report for Center for Early Care and Education, February 2004, Boyd, Judy W. and Steven Barnett and Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong and Deanna Gomby. “Promoting Children’s Social and Emotional Development Through PreschoolNational Institute for Early Education Research (2005), http://nieer.org/docs/?DocID=125. (accessed 12/7/09). Danziger, Sandra K. and Sheldon Danziger. “Child Poverty and Public Policy: Toward a Comprehensive Antipoverty Agenda.” Daedalus 122, no. 1 (Winter, 1993): 57-84. Dillon, Sam. “Recession Stalls State-Financed Pre-Kindergarten, but Federal Money May Help.” The New York Times, April 8, 2009. Dobbie, Will and Roland G. Fryer Jr. “Are High-Quality Schools Enough to Close the Achievement Gap? Evidence from a Bold Social Experiment in Harlem.” Working Paper from Harvard University (April 2009): 1-53. Duncan, Greg J. and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. “Family Poverty, Welfare Reform, and Child Development.” Child Development 71 no. 1 (2000): 188-196. Clarke-County School District, “Clarke-County School District.” 2009.http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/offices. cfm?subpage=64 (accessed 9/30/09). Education Equality Project, “The Achievement Gap Facts.” 2009.http://www.educationequalityproject.org/ what_we_stand_for/all_the_facts (accessed 11/30/2009). Fabes,Richard A. Carol Lynn Martin. “Birth and Neonatal Development.” Exploring Child Development. 2 ed. Carolyn O. Merrill. New York: Pearson Education Inc., 2002. Feldman,Robert S. “Cognitive Development in the Preschool Years.” Child Development. 2 ed. Laura Pearson. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001. Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, ““Annual Report.” Bright from the Start.” 2009.http://decal. ga.gov/HeadStart/AnnualReport.aspx (accessed 10/20/09). Graham, Judith. ““What We Know About How Children Learn.” The University of Maine Cooperative Extension. .” http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/4356.htm (accessed 10/20/09). The Harlem Children’s Zone, “By the Numbers.” 2009.http://www.hcz.org/our-results/by-the-number (accessed 12/1/09). Hawley,Theresa. “How Early Experiences Affect Brain Development.” Starting Smart. 2 ed. Washington D.C.:
Zero to Three, 2000. HighScope Educational Research Foundation, “HighScope Perry Preschool Study.” http://www.highscope.org/ Content.asp?ContentId=282 (accessed 12/5/2009). Im , J., Osborn, C., Sánchez, S. and Thorp, E. . “Cradling Literacy: Building Teachers’ Skills to Nurture Early Language and Literacy Birth to Five.” http://www.zerotothree.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ter_key_language_infants&AddInterest=1145 (accessed 10/20/09). Kay, Amy. “Interview with Dr. Kay: Academic Professional & Director, Child Development Lab.” Interview by Elizabeth Allan. 10/13/09. Lamm, Alexa. “Risk Factors Affecting High School Drop Out Rates and 4-H Teen Program PlanningJournal of Extension 43. 4 (2005), http://www.joe.org/joe/2005august/rb6.php . (accessed 12/7/09). Landry, H. and Karen E. Smith and Paul R. Swank. “The Importance of Parenting During Early Childhood for School-Age Development.” Developmental Neuropsychology 24, no. 2&3 (2003): 559-591. Luster, Tom and Harriette McAdoo. ““Family and Child Influences on Educational Attainment: A Secondary Analysis of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Data.” Developmental Psychology 32. 1 (1996), 26-39. Magdol, Lynn. “Risk Factors for Adolescent Academic Achievement.” Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars (1991): 1-14. Mary Hood. “Interview with Mary Hood, Director of Prevent Child Abuse Athens.” Interview by Elizabeth Allan. 10/13/09 Moon De Avila, Angie. “Interview with Angie Moon De Avila: Education and Family Engagement Coordinator for Early Head Start/ Head Start.” Conducted by Elizabeth Allan. 10/12/09 Partners for a Prosperous Athens , “Poverty.” 2009.http://www.prosperousathens.org/poverty/index. html#poverty (accessed 9/30/09). Perkins-Gogh, Deborah. “Giving Intervention a Head Start: A Conversation with Edward Zigler..” Education Leadership, 2007, 8-14. Pfannenstiel, Judy and Edward Zigler. “The Parents as Teachers program: Its impact on School Readiness and Later School Achievement.” Parents as Teachers: National Center, 2007, 1-6. Shaff, Kimberly Anne. “Family Structure Transitions and Child Achievemen.” Sociological Spectrum 18, no. 6 (2008): 681-704. Shulman, Robin. “Harlem Program Singled Out as Model.” The Washington Post, August 2, 2009, http://www. washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/01/AR2009080102297.html. Smith, Gaye Morris. “Editorial.”Connected: Connecting Communities and Partners 4. No. 2, 2006. Volling, Brenda L. Nancy L. McElwain, Paul C. Notaro, and Carla Herrera. “Parents’ Emotional Availability and Infant Emotional Competence: Predictors of Parent–Infant Attachment and Emerging Self-Regulation.” Journal of Family Psychology 16, no. 4 (2002): 447-465. This American Life. “Going Big.” Chicago Public Radio. Podcast. No. 364. Aired: 8/14/2009. USFG Department of Health and Human Services, “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Early Head Start Expansio.” 2009.http://www.hhs.gov/ (accessed Dec. 2009). Votruba-Drzal, “Income Changes and Cognitive Stimulation in Young Children’s Home Learning Environment.” Journal of Marriage and Family 65, no. 2 (2003): 341-355. Wagaman, Jennifer. “Raising Middle School Reading Test Scores.” http://newteachersupport.suite101.com/ article.cfm/raising_middle_school_reading_test_scores (accessed 12/7/09).
Wertheimer, Richard and Tara Croan. “Attending Kindergarten and Already Behind: A Statistical Portrait of Vulnerable Young Children.” Child Trends, 2003. Wolfe, Randi B. and Barton J. Hirsch. “Outcomes of Parent Education Programs Based on Reevaluation Counseling.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 12, no. 1 (2003): 61-76. Yu-chu , Yeh and Jing-jyi WU. “The Relationship Between Critical Thinking and Academic Achievement Among Elementary and Secondary, School StudentsThe Jounral of Education and Psychology 15. (1992), 79100, http://www.fed.cuhk.edu.hk/en/jep/9215/9215079.htm. (accessed 12/7/09). Zietlow, Rachel. “Education: Early childhood efforts may save money in the long run.” State Trends: The Council of State Governments, 2009, 39-62.
1. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Profile for Georgia.” Kids Count. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. http://
datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/stateprofile.aspx?state=GA&cat=471&group=Category&loc=12&dt=1%2c 3%2c2%2c4 (Accessed Date 9/15/2009) 2. Graham, Judith. “What We Know About How Children Learn.” The University of Maine Cooperative Extension. http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/4356.htm 3. Fabes, Richard A. Carol Lynn Martin. “Birth and Neonatal Development.” Exploring Child Development. 2 ed. Edited by Carolyn O. Merrill. New York: Pearson Education Inc. 2002. 4. Feldman, Robert S. “Cognitive Development in the Preschool Years.” Child Development. 2 ed. Edited by Laura Pearson. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2001. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid. 7. Landry, Susan H. and Karen E. Smith and Paul R. Swank. “The Importance of Parenting During Early Childhood for School-Age Development.” Developmental Neuropsychology. 24, no 2 & 3. (2003): 559-591. 10/10/09. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10. Hawley, Theresa. “How Early Experiences Affect Brain Development.” Starting Smart.2 ed. Washington DC: Zero to Three, 2000 11. Landry, Susan H. and Karen E. Smith and Paul R. Swank. “The Importance of Parenting During Early Childhood for School-Age Development.” Developmental Neuropsychology. 24, no 2 & 3. (2003): 559-591. 10/10/09. 12. Albritton, Shelly and Jack Klotz and Thelma Roberson. “Parents as Teachers: Advancing Parent Involvement in a Child’s Education.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. (2003):1-83 13. Ibid. 14. Landry, Susan H. and Karen E. Smith and Paul R. Swank. “The Importance of Parenting During Early Childhood for School-Age Development.” Developmental Neuropsychology. 24, no 2 & 3. (2003): 559-591. 10/10/09. 15. Feldman, Robert S. “Cognitive Development in the Preschool Years.” Child Development. 2 ed. Edited by Laura Pearson. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2001. 16. Ibid. 17. Ginsburg, Kenneth R. “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds.” American Academy of Pediatrics 119 no. 1 (2007): 182-191. 11/5/09. 18. Feldman, Robert S. “Cognitive Development in the Preschool Years.” Child Development. 2 ed. Edited by Laura Pearson. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2001. 19. Yu-chu YEH and Jing-jyi WU. “The Relationship Between Critical Thinking and Academic Achievement Among Elementary and Secondary, School Students.” The Jounral of Education and Psychology 15 (1992): 79100. http://www.fed.cuhk.edu.hk/en/jep/9215/9215079.htm. (Accessed 12/7/09) 20. Im, J., Osborn, C., Sánchez, S. and Thorp, E. (in press). Cradling Literacy: Building Teachers’ Skills to Nurture Early Language and Literacy Birth to Five. Washington, DC: Zero to Three. http://www.zerotothree. org/site/PageServer?pagename=ter_key_language_infants&AddInterest=1145 21. Ibid. 22. Hawley, Theresa. “How Early Experiences Affect Brain Development.” Starting Smart.2 ed. Washington DC: Zero to Three, 2000 23. Ibid. 24. Feldman, Robert S. “Cognitive Development in the Preschool Years.” Child Development. 2 ed. Edited by Laura Pearson. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2001. 25. Luster, Tom and Harriette McAdoo. “Family and Child Influences on Educational Attainment: A Secondary 47
Analysis of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Data.” Family and Child Influences on Educational Attainment: A Secondary Analysis of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Data 32, no. 1 (1996): 26-39. 10/10/09 26. Volling, Brenda L. Nancy L. McElwain, Paul C. Notaro, and Carla Herrera. “Parents’ Emotional Availability and Infant Emotional Competence: Predictors of Parent–Infant Attachment and Emerging Self-Regulation.” Journal of Family Psychology 16 No. 4 (2002): 447-465 27. “Social Emotional Development.” Zero to Three. http://www.zerotothree.org/site/ PageServer?pagename=key_social 28. Volling, Brenda L. Nancy L. McElwain, Paul C. Notaro, and Carla Herrera. “Parents’ Emotional Availability and Infant Emotional Competence: Predictors of Parent–Infant Attachment and Emerging Self-Regulation.” Journal of Family Psychology 16 No. 4 (2002): 447-465 29. Ibid. 30. Feldman, Robert S. “Social and Personality Development in the Preschool Years.” Child Development. 2 ed. Edited by Laura Pearson. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2001. 31. Boyd, Judy W. and Steven Barnett and Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong and Deanna Gomby. “Promoting Children’s Social and Emotional Development Through Preschool.” Policy Report. National Institute for Early Education Research. (2005). http://nieer.org/docs/?DocID=125 (Accessed 12/7/09). 32. Duncan, Greg J. and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. “Family Poverty, Welfare Reform, and Child Development.” Child Development 71 No. 1 (2000): 188-196. 33. Wertheimer, Richard and Tara Croan, “Attending Kindergarten and Already Behind: A Statistical Portrait of Vulnerable Young Children.” Child Trends. Research Brief. (2003) 34. Duncan, Greg J. and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. “Family Poverty, Welfare Reform, and Child Development.” Child Development 71 No. 1 (2000): 188-196. 35. Wertheimer, Richard and Tara Croan, “Attending Kindergarten and Already Behind: A Statistical Portrait of Vulnerable Young Children.” Child Trends. Research Brief. (2003) 36. Ibid. 37. Lamm, Alexa. “Risk Factors Affecting High School Drop Out Rates and 4-H Teen Program Planning.” Journal of Extension 43 no. 4. (2005) http://www.joe.org/joe/2005august/rb6.php (Accessed 12/7/09). 38. Wagaman, Jennifer. “Raising Middle School Reading Test Scores.” http://newteachersupport.suite101.com/ article.cfm/raising_middle_school_reading_test_scores (Accessed 12/7/09). 39. Magdol, Lynn. “Risk Factors for Adolescent Academic Achievement.” Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars. (1991): 1-14 40. Lamm, Alexa. “Risk Factors Affecting High School Drop Out Rates and 4-H Teen Program Planning.” Journal of Extension 43 no. 4. (2005) http://www.joe.org/joe/2005august/rb6.php (Accessed 12/7/09). 41. Shaff, Kimberly Anne. “Family Structure Transitions and Child Achievement.” Sociological Spectrum 18 no 6 (2008): 681-704. EbscoHost. (Accessed 12/7/09). 42. Smith, Gaye Morris. “Editorial.” Connected: Connecting Communities and Partners 4. No. 2 (2006) 43. “Demographic Profile.” 2009 Georgia County Guide, Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, UGA, Athens, GA. 706-542-8938 or 706-542-0760. www.caed.uga.edu - Georgia Statistics System. 44. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Profile for the United States.” Kids Count. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrossstates/NationalProfile.aspx 45. One Athens. “Poverty.” Partners for a Prosperous Athens http://www.prosperousathens.org/poverty/ index.html#poverty (Accessed 9/30/09) 46. Votruba-Drzal. “Income Changes and Cognitive Stimulation in Young Children’s Home Learning Environment.” Journal of Marriage and Family 65 no. 2 (May 2003): 341-355 47. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Profile for Athens-Clarke County.” Kids Count. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/stateprofile.aspx?state=GA&loc=1955 48. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Profile for Georgia.” Kids Count. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/stateprofile.aspx?state=GA&cat=471&group=Category&loc=12&d t=1%2c3%2c2%2c4 (Accessed Date 9/15/2009) 49. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Profile for Georgia.” Kids Count. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/stateprofile.aspx?state=GA&loc=1955 50. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Profile for Athens-Clarke County.” Kids Count. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/stateprofile.aspx?state=GA&cat=471&group=Catego ry&loc=12&dt=1%2c3%2c2%2c4 (Accessed Date 9/15/2009) 51. Perkins-Gogh, Deborah. “Giving Intervention a Head Start: A Conversation with Edward Zigler.” Education Leadership. (2007):8-14 52. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Profile for Georgia.” Kids Count. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. http:// datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/stateprofile.aspx?state=GA&cat=471&group=Category&loc=12&dt=1%2c 3%2c2%2c4 (Accessed Date 9/15/2009) 53. Ibid. 48
54. “Early Head Start/ Head Start.” Clarke-County School District. http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/offices. cfm?subpage=64 (9/30/09) 55. Moon De Avila, Angie. “Interview with Angie Moon De Avila: Education and Family Engagement Coordinator for Early Head Start/ Head Start.” Conducted by Elizabeth Allan. 10/12/09 56. Barnes, Kitty and Geoffrey Canada. “The Baby College.” A Look Inside. Vol 1.1 http://www.hcz.org/press-apublications/publications 57. Dobbie, Will and Roland G. Fryer Jr. “Are High-Quality Schools Enough to Close the Achievement Gap? Evidence from a Bold Social Experiment in Harlem.” Working Paper from Harvard University (April 2009) 1-53 58. Lee, Felicia R. “Coping; For Harlem’s Children, a Catcher in the Rye.” New York Times. 1/9/2000. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/09/nyregion/coping-for-harlem-s-children-a-catcher-in-the-rye. html?scp=1&sq=lee%20geoffrey%20canada&st=cse 59. “By the Numbers.” The Harlem Children’s Zone. http://www.hcz.org/our-results/by-the-numbers (Accessed on 12/1/09) 60. Wolfe, Randi B. and Barton J. Hirsch. “Outcomes of Parent Education Programs Based on Reevaluation Counseling.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 12 No. 1(2003): 61–76 61. Ibid. 62. Kay, Amy. “Interview with Dr. Kay: Academic Professional & Director, Child Development Lab.” Interview by Elizabeth Allan. 10/13/09. 63. Landry, Susan H. and Karen E. Smith and Paul R. Swank. “The Importance of Parenting During Early Childhood for School-Age Development.” Developmental Neuropsychology. 24, no 2 & 3. (2003): 559-591. 10/10/09. 64. Pfannenstiel, Judy and Edward Zigler. “The Parents as Teachers program: Its impact on School Readiness and Later School Achievement.” Parents as Teachers: National Center (2007): 1-6 65. “Map and Locations.” Athens Housing Community. http://www.athenshousing.org/map_and_locations.htm (Accessed on 11/5/09) 66. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marian J. and Marinus H. van IJzendoorn and Robert H. Bradley. “Those Who Have, Receive: The Matthew Effect in Early Childhood Intervention in the Home Environment.” American Educational Research Association. 75. No. 1 (2005): 1-26 67. Barnes, Kitty and Geoffrey Canada. “The Baby College.” A Look Inside. Vol 1.1 http://www.hcz.org/press-apublications/publications 68. Head Start Grant 69. “Annual Report.” Bright from the Start. Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. http://decal. ga.gov/HeadStart/AnnualReport.aspx (Accessed 10/20/09) 70. Albritton, Shelly and Jack Klotz and Thelma Roberson. “Parents as Teachers: Advancing Parent Involvement in a Child’s Education.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. (2003):1-83 71. “HighScope Perry Preschool Study.” HighScope Educational Research Foundation http://www.highscope.org/Content.asp?ContentId=282 (Accessed 12/5/2009) 72. Holtom, Brooks C. “College is Worth the Cost.” Business Week. March 2010. http://www.businessweek. com/debateroom/archives/2010/03/college_is_worth_the_cost.html 73. http://www.educationequalityproject.org/pages/achievement_gap 74. Ibid. 75. Ibid. 76. Barnard, Wendy Miedel. “Parent involvement in elementary school and educational attainment.” Child and Youth Services Review. 26 (2004): 39-62. 77. FY 09 Community Assessment 78. Danziger, Sandra K. and Sheldon Danziger. “Child Poverty and Public Policy: Toward a Comprehensive Antipoverty Agenda.” Daedalus, 122 No. 1(Winter, 1993): 57-84 79. Belfield, Clive R. “Early Childhood Education: How Important are the Cost-savings to the School System?” Report for Center for Early Care and Education. (February 2004). 80. Zietlow, Rachel. “Education: Early childhood efforts may save money in the long run.” State Trends: The Council of State Governments. (2009): 21 81. Barnard, Wendy Miedel. “Parent involvement in elementary school and educational attainment.” Child and Youth Services Review. 26 (2004): 39-62. 82. Mary Hood. “Interview with Mary Hood, Director of Prevent Child Abuse Athens.” Interview by Elizabeth Allan. 10/13/09 83. This American Life. “Going Big.” Chicago Public Radio. Podcast. No. 364. Aired: 8/14/2009. 84. Mary Hood. “Interview with Mary Hood, Director of Prevent Child Abuse Athens.” Interview by Elizabeth Allan. 10/13/09 85. “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Early Head Start Expansion.” Department of Health and Human Services. 2009. http://www.hhs.gov/ 49
86. Shulman, Robin. “Harlem Program Singled Out as Model.” The Washington Post. August 2, 2009. http:// www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/01/AR2009080102297.html 87. Dillon, Sam. “Recession Stalls State-Financed Pre-Kindergarten, but Federal Money May Help.” The New York Times. April 8, 2009. Lexis Nexis Academic. Galileo.
A Multidimensional Approach to Reducing Child Labor
Marcelo A. Ostria, University of North Texas
In the academic world, child labor has received less attention than it merits, especially in recent years. Recently, though, research on child labor—usually focusing on the problem’s policy implications—has gained momentum. Scholars have advanced solutions and methods to ameliorate this problem, and those initiatives will doubtless help the cause. Still, many of these solutions do not emphasize enough that child labor is a human-rights issue and that its solution can only be sought through a multidimensional approach that unites education, the international community, legislative measures, and—what appears to be less acknowledged—changing traditional outlooks on child labor. This research paper focuses on identifying the positive patterns that run through various efforts to combat child labor. The paper will do this through the combination of an empirically relevant case example and survey analysis, and will suggest how these findings might be pertinent to further investigation. =
“UNICEF opposes child labor not only for being exploitative but also for endangering children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and moral development.” (Arat 2002: 179).
Child labor is a vital topic. The international community has long been concerned about child labor and attempted to curb it at the first session of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1919 by designating the age of 14 as the minimum age for children to be employed (Arat 2002: 177). Another, more recent example of the international community’s attempt to protect children’s rights was the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted in 1989), which contains articles against economic exploitation and abuse of children. Child labor, one of the main violators of children’s rights, is a difficult practice to analyze and a seemingly impossible one to eliminate. Many critics of child labor, especially those located in the industrial societies, tend to combat and ban the phenomenon through trade sanctions, import restrictions, and consumer boycotts (Arat 2002: 179). There have been debates on whether these solutions are effective; however, several other ways to combat child labor also merit consideration and beg a response to the following question: What are the main and best ways to tackle the issue? Moreover, which of these best methods call for further research, and why?
The imposition of severe sanctions has sometimes been deemed a viable mechanism for eliminating child labor. However, strict measures to ban child labor may well be counterproductive because economic sanctions fail to tackle the underlying causes and incentives of child labor exploitation (Kolk and van Tulder 2002: 298). Furthermore, sanctions have worsened the situation for children who are forced to find work elsewhere, often further aggravating the risk to their wellbeing. For example, U.S. Senator
Tom Harkin’s bill, the Child Labor Deterrence Act of 1993, which was an attempt to ban the import of goods produced by child labor, has already demonstrated the counterproductive nature of such bans. The bill’s threat led Bangladesh garment manufacturers to lay off about 40,000 children (Kolk and van Tulder 2002: 297). Instead of remedying the problem, this led 5000-7000 girls to resort to prostitution and forced other children to go into stone-crushing and street hustling (Arat 2002: 199). Such counterproductive efforts to combat child labor also have a tangible effect on the initiative of children worldwide to assert their opposition to trade sanctions. Child workers from urban areas have organized and claimed that they have a right to work. This initiative has evolved into an international movement that started with Adolescentes Trabajadores (Child and Teenage Workers) in Peru in the 1970s, and later began spreading to other Latin American countries (Arat 2002: 179).
Scholars, aside from the issue of sanctions, have been debating whether or not the improvement of the economic status of a child’s family serves as a deterrent to child labor. The effect of economic status on child labor can depend on particular circumstances, and scholars have varied opinions on the matter. Economic status in some instances can illustrate a positive relationship with the reduction of child labor. For instance, economic status improvements can explain much of the dramatic decline in child labor that occurred in Vietnam during the 1990s (Edmonds 2005: 96). Edmonds’ findings suggest that child-labor declines were indicated in households throughout the per-capita-expenditure distribution, but he also concludes that there was more significant improvement in economic status in poorer households than in richer ones, explaining declines in child labor (Edmonds 2005: 95). While higher parental income and economic status can certainly lead to the reduction of child labor, this is not always the case. For instance, adults that were raised in poor families often make income transfers to their elderly parents. The elderly parents take the transfers as a repayment for all the income lost when their children spent time in school instead of work. However, when there are sufficiently high levels of parental income, children often begin to stop believing that parents need a transfer. The parents would still like the repayment, and thus both transfers and the amount of education that the transfers made possible cease, causing a rise in child labor (Rogers and Swinnerton 2004: 940). Determining whether economic status leads to higher or lower levels of child labor is difficult to ascertain. Certain studies and instances demonstrate that higher income reduces child labor, while other studies suggest it is possible that it increases child labor. Thus, it is imperative to determine which other factors, such as education or government regulations, are regarded as key in influencing child labor.
Education & Regulations
Education is the most commonly cited solution to reducing child labor, and is seen as one of the most robust determinants of whether a child participates in child labor (Lopez-Calva 2001: 66). The imposition of compulsory education as a means to reduce the incidence of child labor, however, can lead to an under-development trap that actually perpetuates the prevalence of child labor (Dessy 2000: 272).
Compulsory education should be linked to a ban on child labor; however, public-policy experiments have also shown that it is difficult to successfully have an impact through legislative measure alone. Financial compensation for poor families for the economic cost of sending their children to school should go along with the established legislative measures (Lopez-Calva 2001: 70). Moreover, initiatives for compulsory education and financial incentives for poor families should be accompanied by the improvement of education systems (Edmonds and Pavcnik 2005: 201). Targeted-subsidy programs, such as Mexico’s PROGRESA and Brazil’s Bolsa Scola, have already adopted these incomeadjustments measures. An advantage that programs that discourage child labor through increasing schooling have is that they address the problems and difficulties of monitoring nonworking children, which plague other methods of attempting to reduce child labor (Edmonds and Pavcnik 2005: 201). Similar alternatives, such as having the state tax child labor, are also related to education. In Europe, tax rebates or family allowances are given on the strict condition that children do not earn wages and attend school regularly (Baland and Robinson 2000: 677). If child-labor regulations alone are enacted with no supplementary legislation, everyone, including children, might be worse off after these regulations have been introduced (Doepke and Zilibotti 2005: 1517). Doepke and Zilibotti stress that child-labor regulations are more likely to be successful and obtain political support if they are accompanied by policies that reduce the cost and increase the accessibility of schools. Moreover, a study on educational attendance and child labor in Zambia concluded that the low quality of education, along with other factors, prevented children from getting an education (Jensen and Nielsen 1997: 422). Suggestions in this study portray the problem of education quality as critical, because once children are incentivized to go to school, they are more likely to continue attending if the quality of education is high. However, not all sources indicate that enrollment subsidies or incentives to attend school reduce child labor. Some suggest that subsidies can increase schooling by far more than it can reduce child labor (Ravallion and Wodon 2000: 159). Education is certainly a critical factor influencing child labor, and regulations can help get children to attend school. But education incentives alone are not enough, and an effective ideological approach should be considered when analyzing all factors that affect child labor.
The Human Rights & International Community Approach
It is not easy to obtain an exact count of child laborers. Global estimates range from 200 to 500 million, but it is possible the actual number is higher (Arat 2002: 180). These staggering numbers should prove that a single method will not be sufficient to eradicate child labor: different approaches must unite in a multidimensional effort. A relatively new concept in this arena posits that the most viable way to effectively combat child labor, while still adhering to a multidimensional approach, is to view the problem through a broad human-rights perspective (Bhargava 2003; Ensalaco and Majka 2008; Weston 2005). While many states partake in human-rights treaties, they do so for different reasons: humanitarian aid, trade, and even the hope that domestic debate on difficult issues will cease by leaving such issues to the international arena (Van Bueren 1999: 705). While every possible measure should be taken to combat the problem of child labor, the poli53
cies and proposals formulated in many industrial countries tend to employ a simplistic approach (Arat 2002: 196). In some ways, the United States government seems to have disregarded this human-rights violation entirely. According to UNICEF, the U.S. and Somalia are the only two countries in the world that have failed to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is the world’s most widely ratified treaty and protects children’s innate human rights.1 Furthermore, a considerably large movement called the Global March Against Child Labor, which was an important march in major cities around the world that drew attention to child labor and child slavery, received virtually no political attention or media coverage in the United States. Because it receives so little attention from the U.S. government, child labor will be more difficult to combat, especially when considering that most governments deny the existence of the problem and others actually sustain the practice by hiring child laborers in state-owned enterprises (Arat 2002: 185). Arat suggests that in addition to states, international actors should be included as part of the human-rights approach to ending child labor. Influential international actors such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank influence state policies and create socioeconomic conditions that are not conducive to the elimination of child labor (Arat 2002: 185). Along with states and international actors, the international community should play an important role in better enforcing regulations that combat child labor around the world.
By taking a look at the studies examining the international problem of child labor and the methods that may or may not be viable, it appears that without a multidimensional approach, child labor will persist. However, understanding this fact in the abstract is one thing, and implementing different approaches is another.
To effectively explain which methods might viably ameliorate child labor, there must be a list of key determinants of child labor. Factors such as education, the international community’s role, legislative measures, and traditional customs directly affect the degree of child labor in a society. These factors need to be taken into account, and their combined effects should be positive as long as they work in unison with a human-rights perspective and address the communal issues that households face in rural areas. It is imperative to invest the most time in the people who engage most often in child labor; throughout the years, it has become more of a cultural norm to have child laborers as part of the community in rural areas.
The International Community
The role that the international community should take to combat child labor is one of strict oversight and enforcement of the laws protecting the rights of children. A continuous children’s human-rights campaign that pressures governments to enforce laws protecting children, preserve their right to an education, and address the other factors that cause child labor, should be taking place with the most powerful states at the
forefront. Without constant international pressure and oversight, many governments will continue to ignore this grave issue by focusing more on the state’s overall economic status. Since child labor is cheaper, it is attractive option for corporations and governments to engage in this activity while completely disregarding the human-rights violation that is taking place. Moreover, influential international actors should design their work so that it improves the overall socioeconomic conditions of a state instead of creating wealth at the top while perpetuating a cycle of poverty and exploitation among the very poor. The international community’s collective commitment to ending child labor should surpass the desire of a few to gain power and high economic status.
Education & Regulations
Most child laborers come from rural communities, where poverty levels are high and education is less accessible. Recent governmental initiatives, such as the PROGRESA targeted-subsidy program in Mexico, have shown some positive effects in relation to school attendance. However, implementing compulsory education and incentives for school attendance cannot eliminate child labor by themselves. Along with the international community, governments should not be complacent by promoting education as the sole way to combat child labor. The ideological concept of children’s rights should be imparted to all members of society, especially those that live in rural areas. Instilling consciousness of human rights in everyone and enhancing educational opportunities are concepts that should always go hand in hand. Together, they can result in the realization that child labor is a human-rights violation, and that everyone, including the very poor, should work to fight against this problem.
A large percentage of child laborers, mainly girls, serves as domestic servants and faces abuse on a regular basis. Millions of other children work in extremely hazardous and physically demanding conditions in agriculture and the mining industry. While the issue of child labor is complex, examining traditions and cultural norms in societies may also lead to concepts that could help further explain the nature of child labor. As governments take steps to enhance access to education, individual educators should also prioritize a human-rights perspective as part of the overall curriculum. Moreover, grassroots organizations should take part in the process of educating everyone in the community about the importance of human rights and children’s rights in particular. Hypothesis: By targeting key factors that influence child labor (education, legislative measures, the international community, and cultural norms), and combining them to work through a human-rights perspective that emphasizes eliminating cultural norms that accept child labor, the international community can end the current complacency toward this human rights violation. Through this approach, societal acceptance of child labor will be exponentially reduced to the point where the future elimination of child labor may seem less of an impossibility, and more of an imperative. My hypothesis aims to illustrate the necessity of the multidimensional and human-rights approach to reducing child labor, but also sheds light on the deep underlying determinant of child labor: instilled societal traditions of child labor in rural areas. The multi55
dimensional approach, therefore, needs to combat communal misconceptions about child labor along with implementing other combatant measures. These theoretical assumptions are broad; however, they aim to establish a starting point for all who want to effectively fight child labor and gain a better understanding of the underlying obstacles preventing its elimination. My goal is not to open room for debate on the best measures, but rather to encourage scholars, policymakers, and activists to coordinate their efforts and provide a starting point on the long road to eliminating this ongoing humanrights violation.
Understanding the underlying factors affecting child labor requires extensive knowledge and evidence of child labor in all regions throughout the world. Since empirically researching cases from all regions of the world for evidence is not realistic, I will focus on one form of child labor in Bolivia. Studying the problem of children who work in the mines in Bolivia, and empirically testing the factors that influence this issue, will be the basis of my case study.
By obtaining a relevant questionnaire from the mining region of Chima, Bolivia, and through further qualitative research related to this issue, I was able to assess the statistical and empirical significance of my results.2 The survey targeted a set of children who did not work and lived in an urban area, and an equal amount of children who worked in the mines and lived in a rural area. Both groups of children were asked the same questions. In this study, I will focus on examining the children’s views on education and whether they thought their social role in society was to work in the mines or not. The survey was conducted by the Bolivian non-governmental organization Instituto Politécnico Tomás Katari (IPTK), which works with child laborers in urban and rural areas of Bolivia.
The statistics that result from the survey will be measured for significance. In order to prove or disprove that education and/or tradition have an effect on the children’s decision to work, it will be important to determine whether or not the relationship between reducing child labor, education, and tradition is statistically significant. Other factors discussed in this paper that influence child labor cannot be statistically tested because of time and resource constraints, but will be assessed and measured through established informational sources. For the data that can be statistically tested, I will conduct a cross-tabulation as well as a chi-square test to determine whether the statistics being measured are significant or not.
The dependent variable of my research is the reduction of child labor. In order to measure this variable, I will consult the International Labor Organization (ILO), U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), and other relevant sources that should give reliable data on
the reduction of child labor in Bolivia, particularly in Bolivian mines. Once this variable is conceptualized and understood, I will further test it by using survey information that illustrates actual household opinions on child labor and the current obstacles to its reduction. This variable will be assessed and affected by the determinants of child labor analyzed in this study.
Independent Variables Education
To measure education, the survey will ascertain whether children who don’t work value education more than children who work in the mines. The goal of determining this relationship is to better understand the social implications of a rural child’s views on education. Understanding the views of child laborers on education will help illustrate the direct relationship between education and child labor within this rural region in Bolivia in which child miners have traditionally been accepted.
Legislative measures & the International Community
For the purposes of this study, legislative measures will be assessed by obtaining pertinent sources from the ILO and USDOL, other reliable sources, and personal correspondence and interviews with experts on Bolivian child labor and child labor in general. Similarly, the impact of the international community on Bolivian child labor will be assessed through the use of established sources. Different governmental attempts from to ameliorate child labor will be described through the case study and will determine whether or not these initiatives have worked thus far.
To measure tradition, the survey conducted will shed some light on the communal consensus on child labor. The children’s own views on their role in society will also be gathered through the questionnaire. The information gathered through the survey pertaining to the mining towns’ traditions of child labor will be crucial to understanding which viable methods to reduce the problem may or may not work in such a setting.
Bolivia: Evidence, Advice, and Results
Background: Child Labor in the Bolivian Mines
Children who work the mines of Bolivia suffer human rights violations in the areas of health and education, often missing school to earn more money for themselves and their families. Approximately 120,000 Bolivian children are involved in small-scale mining, without any guarantees of safe working conditions (Henne 2005). These children have assumed the role of providers for their families. Even so, working at the mines separates these children from those who do not have to work and often makes them the targets of discrimination from nonworking children. Children in the mines are often aware of their adverse social context, but they cannot easily break away from the fact that their role is determined by structural relationships in their communities.
Gathering information on two crucial aspects of IPTK’s survey, the following two crosstabulation tables provide insight on the importance of education, and children’s view on their societal role. Table 1. Viewed school as important or not3
Views school as important
Yes Whether child works or not Yes Count 8 32.0 Count 17 68.0 Count 25 100.0
No 12 80.0 3 20.0 15 100.0
total 20 50.0 20 50.0 40 100.0
% value education
% value education
% value education
In Table 1, the relationship between children who do not work and their view on the importance of education is positive. In other words, of the 40 children surveyed, 20 did not work and 68 percent of the children that valued education were part of that group. In contrast, children who were working and valued education formed only 32 percent of all students who valued education. As a result, it is easy to conclude that children who work are less likely to value education, which in this instance implies that children in rural areas don’t mind working and sacrificing their education. This makes other methods to combat child labor more difficult if they don’t work together to combat this basic sense of apathy towards education. In order to validate the significance of these results, a chi-square test4 determined that, in fact, children who don’t work are more likely to value education by viewing it as important in their lives.
Tradition Within Society
Since rural areas play the largest role in any discussion of child labor, rural children who work in the mines’ negative view of education can perhaps be explained by complacency: that is, the area’s long tradition of children working in the mining towns. Generally speaking, people in Bolivian mining towns don’t view this issue as a serious problem, since they have become accustomed to the working roles children have had for generations. In order to validate this claim, I determine whether the children themselves view their role in society as child laborers or not. In Table 2, the relationship between children working in the mines and children who viewed labor as a child’s role in society is positive. The 20 working children comprised over 82 percent of all children who viewed work in this way. In contrast, there was a negative relationship between the 20 children who were not working and the view that
laboring was a child’s societal role. These non-working children comprised more than 73 percent of all the respondents who opposed this concept. Table 2. Viewed work as their role in society or not5
Views work as a societal role
Whether child works or not
% views work as a societal role
Yes 14 82.4 3 17.6 17 100.0
No 6 26.1 17 73.9 23 100.0
Total 20 50.0 20 50.0 40 100.0
% views work as a societal role
% views work as a societal role
The relationships seen in the tables show evidence that children working in rural areas are more accepting of their lifestyle as child laborers. They view their work as a societal role, as opposed to children living in urban areas who don’t work and value education more. In order to fully validate this relationship, the chi-square test6 concluded that there certainly is a relationship between expected societal roles and working status among children. Thus, the relationship shown, which suggests that children in rural areas are more likely to view child labor as a norm than children in urban areas, is statistically significant. This established relationship provides room for better conceptualizations of how different approaches could tackle this problem. Child labor certainly becomes more difficult to combat when the indigenous acceptance of child labor has continued throughout generations in Bolivia. However, these cultural beliefs are related to other factors that have perpetuated poverty in Bolivian society—indeed, the problems that sustain child labor are problems felt in different forms throughout all of the country.
Problems: Law Enforcement and Failing International Community Efforts
Existing laws in Bolivia are merely nominal and pose little challenge to the country’s heritage of child exploitation.7 Despite U.N. efforts to eliminate extreme forms of child labor through the implementation of international conventions, the problem remains as Bolivia ignores the rules and regulations established by these conventions. Nor do the Bolivian mining-sector corporations and mining towns comply with domestic Bolivian laws that would prohibit such exploitation. Although Bolivian children working in mines face hazardous conditions and miss school to provide for their families, parents are often also complicit in this cycle of exploitation, which simultaneously robs children of their childhood and of the foundational knowledge garnered in schoolrooms.
Efforts & Future Considerations
Not all efforts are utterly failing in Bolivia. Newer legislative measures, such as the current Bolivian incentive program, “Bono Juancito Pinto,” grants a stipend the equivalent of U.S. $15 to children in grades one through six (United States Department of Labor 2007a; hereafter USDOL). The full effects of this program have yet to be determined, but the program instills hope after acknowledging other similar successful programs such as Mexico’s PROGRESA and Brazil’s Bolsa Scola. Grassroots organizations should likewise assist in the creation of facilities to enhance elementary education and provide more advanced schooling opportunities in mining areas, following steps taken by IPTK. Even within urban areas, IPTK has developed supplemental pedagogical workshops for child laborers in the Potosi-Oruro region8 (Iván Ramiro Arancibia, e-mail correspondence). The participation of the ILO and U.S. is essential to achieving similar reforms in other areas of the country. Consider, with respect to Bolivian gold mining, an endeavor already funded by USDOL, which devotes $4,480,000 towards the elimination of child labor in Bolivian gold mines (USDOL 2007b). Similar progress is essential for the 120,000 Bolivian children involved in smallscale mining (Henne 2005). These proposed methods of child-labor reduction in Bolivia can serve as a model for other countries to follow. International actors, grassroots organizations, effective legislative measures, and enforcement of international treaties protecting children’s rights must all act in concert if they are to change many Bolivians’ state of denial that child labor is a human-rights issue.
The complexity of child labor is daunting, but necessary to understand in order to find solutions that could eventually lead to the elimination of this human-rights violation. The multidimensional approach to reducing child labor is a broad concept that is only superficially reviewed in this study. However, promising empirical results suggest that the multidimensional approach holds promise and should continue to be studied. The more research done in different regions of the world and on different cases of child labor, the better our understanding will be of the social and political complexities that accompany this issue. Thus, better proposals can be constructed on different types of methods to reduce and eventually eliminate child labor. Throughout this study, an attempt to support the multidimensional approach has been supported by consultations, fact-finding, and analysis on the actual children’s views of their conditions in Bolivia. This study attempts to go beyond supporting the multidimensional approach, by also focusing on gaining a better understanding of the obstacles that are present when implementing these solutions. In the Bolivian case, the cultural norms that portray child labor as acceptable are the main obstacles to progress. Traditional methods to combat child labor, such as trade sanctions, consumer boycotts, and import restrictions, can be counterproductive. Moreover, government regulations
and international actors can even make the situation worse if they do not take into account the psychology and the economic needs of families that engage in child labor. Research suggests that many children in rural areas do not see the need to go to school due to the cycle of poverty that has engulfed Bolivian society. As a consequence, most Bolivians over generations have come to find child labor socially acceptable. However, while this study finds evidence of governmental failure to acknowledge the root of the problem, evidence of effective legislative measures, such as incentive programs for higher school attendance, are steps in the right direction. Incentives alone are not going to solve the problem, which is why this study chooses to emphasize the multidimensional approach: an overarching human-rights perspective is necessary, especially in light of evidence that most children and their elders do not view child labor as a violation of human rights.
It is imperative to conduct further research on how combined methods could be used in tandem to assuage this problem. Specifically, a systematic analysis of how governments, organizations, and the private sector can work together will enhance crosssector cooperation. In order to make systematic assessments, existing and historical attempts to eradicate child labor should be examined as case studies. Consider the case of Bulgaria, where capacity-building practices with smaller NGOs, a national awareness campaign by the ILO and national government, model schools and child-welfare organizations that continue to monitor school drop-out rates and offer counseling, and the expansion of social services such as education and vocational training, supplemented an existing national legal framework. This long-term collaborative partnership helped the former communist state transition to a market economy that protected children’s rights by encouraging legal reform, supporting better business practices, and developing the institutional strength of non-governmental organizations—a winning combination that shows promise in Bolivia as well.
Survey The survey described in this study was derived from a brief questionnaire conducted by the Instituto Politécnico Tomás Katari in October 2008. The purpose of the questionnaire was to better understand a child’s perspective on child labor. IPTK works to provide supplemental pedagogical workshops for children in the Oruro-Potosi region, which contains several mining towns. IPTK also works with child laborers who cannot get proper access to education. Thus, the organization constantly attempts to assess the child’s condition and how it can work to better the child’s living standards. Questionnaire Purpose The questionnaire was a collaboration between IPTK and myself. While the overall purpose of the study was for IPTK to better understand of the children’s perspective of child labor, it was also originally as a way to support my particular study. Process IPTK gathered 20 children from schools in the city of Oruro, Bolivia. These children reportedly did not work and attended school regularly. IPTK also gathered a group
of 20 children from the mining region of Chima, Bolivia, who worked in the mines. A staff member personally handed the questionnaires to both groups of children. A cash incentive to fill the questionnaire was given. Thus, no missing data was reported and 100 percent of the children asked to fill out the questionnaires successfully answered all questions. Fifteen questions were asked, all of which required a simple “yes” or “no” answer. For purposes of this study, I asked to obtain information on the children’s views of education and their societal roles. Thus, I was sent the information, including how many children answered “no” and “yes” to the question. Used Questions The answers to the questions that I used for this study were sent to me: 10. Is school important to you? 14. Is working your role in society? *The questions were asked in Spanish, and I have translated them for purposes of clarification. **Disclaimer The information contained in the survey questionnaire reflected in this study does not necessarily reflect the views of IPTK on child labor. This study’s analysis of the questions listed above reflect only the author’s own interpretation of the information available from the questionnaire. The findings of statistical significance from the data are derived from the author’s own work and do not relate to IPTK’s findings or conclusions.
1. Information on the Convention and on UNICEF’s work and perspective on child labor was gathered
through a personal interview with William Van Pelt, Manager of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Public Policy and Advocacy office. Interview took place in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 2008. 2. After making an inquiry, I was able to obtain permission from the executive director of a Bolivian NGO IPTK (Instituto Politécnico Tomás Katari) to use information on a household survey conducted by the organization in October, 2008. 3. Table compiled by author from survey results. 4. The chi-square test was conducted using SPSS software and a distribution values table with a 0.05 significance level. The null hypothesis determines that there is no relationship between children’s working status and their view on education. The pearson chi-square value was 8.640 with a degrees of freedom of 1. The critical value derived from the table was 3.84. Since the chi-square value is greater than the critical value, we can reject the null hypothesis and thus safely conclude that the statistical relationship between children’s working status and their view on education is significant. 5. Table compiled by author from survey results. 6. The chi-square test was conducted using SPSS software and a distribution values table with a 0.05 significance level. The null hypothesis determines that there is no relationship between children’s working status and their view on their societal role. The pearson chi-square value was 12.379 with a degrees of freedom of 1. The critical value derived from the table was 3.84. Since the chi-square value > than the critical value, we can reject the null hypothesis and thus safely conclude that the statistical relationship between children’s working status and their view on their societal role is significant. 7. Statement derived from information gathered through personal e-mail correspondence with Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze, former President of Bolivia and current Professor of Law and Politics at the Catholic University in La Paz, Bolivia. Correspondence ranged from June 2009-present. 8. Information on IPTK and its works was derived from personal e-mail correspondence with IPTK’s Executive Director, Iván Ramiro Arancibia Araoz from Sucre, Bolivia. Correspondence ranged from December 2008 to January 2009. 62
Arat, Zehra F. 2002. “Analyzing Child Labor as a Human Rights Issue: Its Causes, Aggravating Policies, and Alternative Proposals.” Human Rights Quarterly 24 (1): 177-204. Baland, Jean-Marie, and James A. Robinson. 2000. “Is Child Labor Inefficient?” The Journal of Political Economy 108 (4): 663-679. Bhargava, P. 2003. The Elimination of Child Labor: Whose Responsibility? Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications Inc. Dessy, Sylvain. 2000. “A defense of compulsive measures against child labor” Journal of Development Economics 62 (Fall): 261-275 Doepke, Matthias, and Fabrizio Zilibotti. 2005. “The Macroeconomics of Child Labor Regulations.” The American Economic Review 95 (5): 1492-1524 Edmonds, Eric. 2005. “Does Child Labor Decline with Improving Economic Status?” The Journal of Human Resources 40 (1): 77-99 Edmonds, Eric V., and Nina Pavcnik. 2005. “Child Labor in the Global Economy.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 19 (1): 199-220 Ensalaco, M., Majka, L. 2008. Children’s Human Rights—Progress and Challenges for Children Worldwide. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. Henne, Kurt. 2005. “Combating the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Bolivia.” http://www.albanet.org/irr/hr/ winter05/bolivia.html (October 18, 2008) The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour. 2009. The Bulgarian Government and the International Labour Organization: Six years to eliminate child labour in Bulgaria. Sofia, Bulgaria. Jensen, Peter, and Skyt Nielsen. 1997. “Child labour or school attendance? Evidence from Zambia.” Journal of Population Economics 10 (4): 407-424. Kolk, Ans, and Rob van Tulder. 2002. “Child Labor and Multinational Conduct: A Comparison of International Business and Stakeholder Codes.” Journal of Business Ethics 36 (3): 291-301. Lopez-Calva, Luis. 2001. “Child Labor: Myths, Theories and Facts.” Journal of International Affairs 55 (Fall): 59-73. Rogers, Carol Ann, and Kenneth A. Swinnerton. 2004. “Does Child Labor Decrease When Parental Incomes Rise?” Journal of Political Economy 112 (4): 939-946. Ravallion, Martin, and Quentin Wodon. 2000.“Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy.” The Economic Journal 110 (462): C158-C175. United States Department of Labor. 2007a. Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor- Bolivia. Washington, D.C.: Department of Labor. United States Department of Labor. Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking. 2007b. Project Status – Americas. Washington, D.C.: Department of Labor. Van Bueren, Geraldine. 1999. “Combating Child Poverty—Human Rights Approaches.” Human Rights Quarterly 21(3): 680-706. Weston, B. 2005. Child Labor and Human Rights—Making Children Matter. London, UK: Lynne Rienner Publishing. 63
Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and Integrating Disaster-Risk Assessment, Reduction and Management into Development Strategies Erika K. Solanki, University of California - Los Angeles Abstract
A decade ago, 189 world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration, from which the Millennium Development Goals were extracted—eight international development goals that have since guided government, organization, and civil-society development work. The goals include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for sustainable economic and social development. As the global community has worked together to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, researchers and practitioners have also begun to address human vulnerability in relation to disaster risk. A people’s level of human vulnerability is determined by its physical environment and socioeconomic condition, which may increase or decrease disaster risk. Expert observations have established that development processes contribute to vulnerability patterns, as well as shape and amplify patterns of hazard and risk exposure. In doing so, researchers and practitioners began to address disaster as a development constraint, thus acknowledging that disaster-risk assessment and disaster management are integral components of a sustainable-development strategy.
Increasing Child Survival Through More Sustainable Development Mechanisms
In order to ultimately increase the rate of child survival and quality of life among children, development policies should effectively integrate disaster-risk assessment, reduction, and management strategies. By integrating disaster-risk concerns in development processes, communities will be able to better absorb the impact of disasters and recover more quickly. A community’s ability to recover from a disaster is a critical underpinning of sustainable development. Development experts consistently stress the cost-effective nature of sustainable development, which in turn enhances child development and chances for survival. Children worldwide are already at higher risks for premature death from hunger, disease, and disaster. Ensuring that development measures have reduced disaster-risk vulnerability among children, an already vulnerable group, is an urgent concern for development facilitators.
I. The Evolution of Natural Disaster as a Development Concern
For many years, both researchers and fieldworkers have been sharing compelling evidence that natural disasters are not simply random acts of God. Up until the 1970s, common opinion held natural disasters to be synonymous with natural events such as earthquakes, tornados and volcanic eruptions. The impact of a natural disaster on a community was evaluated by the degree of the catastrophe. Since earthquakes and tornados are unavoidable natural events, the international community and national governments put emphasis on responding to natural disasters and preparing for them. Beginning in the 1970s, technical professionals, researchers, fieldworkers, and the public began to associate natural disasters with their physical impact on a community instead of simply studying the characteristics of the hazards themselves. Essentially, the focus shifted from the disaster to the effects a disaster had on a community and human capital. In turn, interest grew in the development, design and implementation of measures to mitigate losses. This new strain of thought emphasized reducing hazards by increasing the resistance ability of physical structures. Unfortunately, the high cost of physical-mitigation measures and implementation prevented many countries from maximizing risk reduction. Another new strain of thought originating in the 1970s, in contrast to the use of physical mitigation, claimed that the impact of a natural hazard could be assessed by far more factors than simply the physical resistance of a particular structure. Social scientists contended that the impact of a natural hazard could be gauged by the capacity of people to absorb the impact of the disaster and recover from loss or damage. The focus of disaster response shifted from physical vulnerability to social and economic vulnerability. There was increasing evidence illustrating the widely varying impacts natural hazards had on different social groups and on different countries. Thus, a shift occurred in the dynamics used to address natural disasters: focus was taken off the occurrence itself, and placed on the development processes that generated varying levels of vulnerability among populations. Development processes examine the physical and socio-economic structures of communities that contribute to the economic, political, and social development of a place. Vulnerability reduction has since emerged as a key strategy for reducing disaster impact. It was evident by the 1990s that development processes were contributing to vulnerability patterns, and also shaping patterns of hazard and risk exposure. The most significant evidence linking development processes to amplified hazard scenarios is the impact of climate change on the global population and environment. Researchers and practitioners stress the increasingly integral role that risk management and reduction have in creating sustainable-development processes, especially since all development activities possess the potential to increase or reduce disaster risks. When considering disaster impact, it is essential to consider the ways in which economic and social elements, and their fundamental institutional and political components, are shaped, impeded, and sometimes even accelerated by disaster. In addition, it is critical to assess the ways economic and social development function directly or indirectly to reduce or amplify disaster risk.
II. Disaster and Economic Development Disaster Limits Economic Development
Disaster can eliminate the gains of economic development directly and indirectly, on both a micro and macro level. In 1982, Hurricane Isaac demolished 22 percent of housing structures in the Tongan archipelago.1 In 2000, Mozambique floods ruined basic community infrastructure, resulting in over $165.3 million in reconstruction costs.2 In Vietnam, annual flooding spoils almost 300,000 tons of food.3 Rare dramatic incidences as well as a flow of constant disasters limited national development potential by interrupting production and trade, diverting and depleting savings, and decreasing public and private investment. In addition to nationwide impacts, disasters can profoundly impact local and household economies. Injuries and deaths due to a disaster can decrease the number of income earners, interrupt production, decrease access to markets, ruin productive assets, and destroy municipal infrastructure. Already vulnerable groups are likely to be further drawn into abject poverty. Some communities that experience constant small-scale hazards are eroded gradually. If a local community is already weakened by a series of everyday disasters, the ability of that community to absorb the impact of a major catastrophe and recover will be fatally limited. Due to the higher concentration and cost of infrastructure in developed countries, absolute overall economic loss is higher. However, when assessing economic loss in proportion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), less developed countries bear far higher levels of relative loss. El Salvador and Seattle, Washington both experienced earthquakes in 2001 that resulted in almost $2 billion in losses. While the U.S. economy easily absorbed the loss, this scale of loss comprised 15 percent of El Salvador’s GDP for 2001. Compared to smaller countries with highly concentrated assets, larger countries tend to have economic assets spread among a greater geographical area. This enables them to minimize their overall losses. In 1995, Hurricane Luis destroyed a majority of Antigua’s physical infrastructure, resulting in $330 million in damages. This amount was equal to 66 percent of Antigua’s GDP. In contrast, despite a disaster, a country with a larger economy is more likely to maintain the functionality of its national economy. In 1999, the Marmara earthquake resulted in almost $13 billion in direct losses for Turkey, yet the country’s larger national economy sustained somewhat normal activity. In addition to economy size, the proportion of a country’s land area that is exposed to risk is also a determinant of disaster vulnerability. Small islands, for the most part, cannot avoid high vulnerability. In 2001, a volcanic eruption made 75 percent of Montserrat, an island in the Caribbean, uninhabitable.4 An economy lacking diversity also sacrifices security as market conditions change and climatic fluctuations alter yields. Specialization in a specific commodity export is particularly problematic for countries that are constantly threatened by drought, flooding, or cyclones. In the 1997 El Niño year, agricultural production was dramatically reduced in the African countries of Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa, Malawi, and Zambia.5 Globalization encourages countries to develop and embrace specializations, but this lack of diversity amplifies insecurity on both national and local levels. Disasters limit economic development— an essential underpinning for developed countries to recover from hazard impacts. Ironically, developing countries are forced to absorb and recover from these disasters without the necessary foundations of sustainable economic development in place.
How Does Economic Development Increase Disaster Risk?
There are many instances where economic growth generates disaster risk. In 1997, enormous forest fires in Indonesia significantly increased air pollution in Malaysia, a neighboring country. Farmers in Indonesia had instigated the fires in an attempt to expand production of palm oil, a major export crop.6 In the Barbados Islands, tourist developments along the coast damage coral-reef ecosystems as a result of increased water waste and recreational sports, ultimately ruining the island’s first barrier against storms.7 Development priorities that are not based on disaster-management and risk-reduction strategies highly increase risk and human vulnerability. Governments essentially chose particular development strategies that shape patterns of hazard and development loss. The 1999 earthquake in Izmit, Turkey exemplified the prevalence of systemic corruption. Officials failed to oversee building construction and enforce regulations, resulting in sub-standard construction and leading to a tremendous number of collapsed buildings after the earthquake.8 Disaster risk today is largely linked to historical development decisions made by distant actors. Disaster hazards exemplify the complex and varying ways in which economic development and disaster risks are interconnected. For example, the disaster hazards associated with global climate change—increasing sea levels, and river pollution caused by industrial overflow—ultimately increase the vulnerability of downstream communities. Economic development should not generate disaster risk, nor should it contribute to the conditions that threaten human and environmental sustainability. In order to lessen disaster risks through economic development, researchers and practitioners must fully understand the relationship and interaction between the two.
How Does Economic Development Reduce Disaster Risk?
Economic development should proceed without enhancing disaster risks, by efficiently integrating disaster-risk assessment, management and reduction strategies into existing and future development efforts. Development plans should harmonize three critical components: (1) the accumulation of monetary assets that aid development initiatives; (2) the distribution of monetary means to decrease the overall vulnerability of a population; and (3) the reduction of barriers that keep individuals from accessing the markets and gaining essential assets. Economic development plans should utilize these three basic goals to guide their strategy. The integration of disaster-risk assessment and management into development efforts would include further utilizing existing risk reduction and management tools. It would also require developers to make risk-conscious decisions in building regulations and infrastructure development. New risk-management strategies also ought to take into account production externalities and industrial development, climate change and agricultural development, and the introduction of new technologies. Disaster-risk assessment and management should be incorporated in two ways. First, development instruments should incorporate risk knowledge to mitigate the risk impacts of development interventions. For instance, to prevent or mitigate the collapse of infrastructure during earthquakes, governments should incorporate risk information when designing building regulations. Secondly, practitioners should assess the possible adverse effects that eco67
nomic development would have on other regions and populations. Frequently, innocent bystanders bear a disproportionate amount of disaster impacts, such as downstream neighborhoods lacking access to fresh stream water due to industrial pollution.9 In Malaysia, the Klang River Basin Flood Mitigation and Environmental Management Project exemplifies economic development that is conscious of risk management and reduction. The rapidly urbanizing basin, already home to almost 3.6 million people, has allotted large portions of agricultural land for urban use. As urbanization advances, ecosystem degradation has increased, subjecting the region to more frequent floods. Officials have developed an Environmental Master Plan to address and direct environmental management, by improving river water quality, providing residents with flood warnings, and developing protective infrastructures and strategies.10 The Market Incentives for Mitigation program demonstrates the international push towards encouraging governments to invest in more effective disaster prevention. During the reconstruction period after a disaster, the Market Incentives for Mitigation program aims to mobilize multiple groups, including the World Bank, insurance groups, and the reinsurance community. These groups utilize tools of commercial-loss reduction and management to make and maintain development investments. In the long term, governments should gradually shift funding from emergency aid efforts and reconstruction initiatives to more efficient and sustainable investments that focus on reducing risk and preventing disasters before they happen.11 Building resilience to disasters at a local level is critical to keeping socioeconomic assets and structures intact. Group or individual development opportunities largely enhance local resilience, enabling communities to absorb disaster impacts and recover efficiently. For instance, consider microfinance programs in the context of the periodic floods in Bangladesh. Muhammad Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh to administer a microfinance program that provides individuals with credit. Meanwhile, between 1988 and 1998, periodic floods in Bangladesh caused widespread damage, adversely affecting agricultural communities and dependent households. During this decade, microfinance programs were instrumental in providing agriculture-dependent households with an economic safety net. The microfinance program lent funds to highly vulnerable groups, allowing families and households to diversify their income-earning methods.12 The Klang River programs in Malaysia are examples of current initiatives that both assess the risks related to previous development policies, and develop new programs that mitigate those risks and prevent future threats. The Market Incentives for Mitigation program stresses the gradual shift from emergency-relief-and-response efforts to disaster assessment, management and reduction. Lastly, the Grameen Bank demonstrates the importance of building local economic resilience and upholding overarching socioeconomic assets. Ultimately, successful development planning will address the complex relationship and interactions between economic development and disaster risk.
III. Disaster and Social Development Disaster Limits Social Development
Disasters directly limit social development by exacerbating the plight of already vulnerable populations, eroding communities’ social assets, and disrupting the frameworks that underpin social development. For example, a community suffering from HIV/AIDS deaths and costs associated with the disease is likely to lack the organizational capacity to collectively absorb and recover from a natural disaster. The combination of a disaster with already impoverished conditions further depletes a community’s social assets. In addition to the loss of social assets themselves, such as lives, health, and safety, disasters frequently destroy the benefits established by institutionalized health, sanitation, water, shelter, and education systems. In 2001, the El Salvador earthquake severely damaged 23 hospitals, 121 health facilities and 1566 schools. In 1999, a cyclone contaminated drinking water wells and destroyed multiple schools in Orissa, India.13 Access to safe drinking water, shelter, adequate healthcare, and basic education form the skeletal foundation for social development. Disasters also have indirect negative consequences on social development. During disaster-risk reduction efforts or in the aftermath of a disaster such as a cyclone or a political emergency, officials may skew aid budgets towards certain groups or sectors of society. Whether they do this in a purposefully biased manner or as a result of scarce resources and pressurized decision-making, the unequal distribution of scarce resources, inevitably reduces social equity, especially in developing countries. For instance, in 1999, the cyclone in Orissa resulted in high economic and social losses, which were largely attributed to the lack of an efficient administrative process, high levels of corruption, and an apathetic civil society.14 In addition, disasters encourage citizens to demand democratic institutions. In 1985, a civilian response to an earthquake in Chile threatened the dictatorial Pinochet regime, yet the government immediately repressed the response.15 Political structures have the power to promote, shape, or impede social development. Women suffer additional barriers to social development throughout the world. In the aftermath of disaster situations, women are disproportionately called upon to generate additional income and complete additional domestic work. While women’s ability to increase their standing in society is reduced while they are exposed to these additional stresses, the long-run net result could also increase their level of economic and political participation. In Bangladesh, women and girls refused to utilize hurricane shelters in response to their exclusion from local decision-making processes. In response to their protest, female-inclusive decision-making bodies have been formed, reforming hurricane-shelter management and increasing use among women.
How Does Social Development Increase Disaster Risk?
Indicators such as increased access to education, improved sanitation, and greater capacity for community health clinics all characterize social development. Social development does not directly increase disaster risk except in situations where individuals willingly expose themselves to risk in order to realize their own needs or desires. Rapid
urbanization exemplifies this notion. In many instances, individuals will seek opportunities to enhance the quality of life for their children, thus these individuals accept higher disaster risk during their lifetimes to provide greater prospects for their children. International and internal migration has fuelled the growth of unofficial settlements and inner-city slums, for instance those of Central American citizens migrating into United States cities. These mushrooming settlements have developed in gullies, on steep hillsides, along flood plains, or adjacent to toxic industrial sites, creating unstable living conditions. In other situations, individuals accept enhanced environmental risks due to a lack of alternatives. Almost 600 million urban dwellers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean live in neighborhoods that pose significant threats to their health and livelihoods, but are largely too poor to do anything about it.16
How Does Social Development Reduce Disaster Risk?
The achievement, or lack thereof, of social-development goals will often hinge upon the quality of a region’s governance. Political authority figures are key in managing disaster risk. In order to most efficiently reduce disaster risk, these officials must address the needs of at-risk individuals immediately, and facilitate prompt, equitable, and strategic decisions regarding resource transportation and allocation. Good governance is also critical in developing and improving social assets. Health and education provide a tangible foundation for social development. Increased access to healthcare facilities and overall improved health, coupled with higher levels of education, reduce risk vulnerability and limit human mortality in a disaster. In the aftermath of a disaster, a healthier population with vaccinated children will fare far better during a temporary period of displacement. A literate and educated total population is better able to develop unique protection mechanisms for urban and rural communities. Educated populations respond better to warnings and public-service announcements, thus increasing disasterrisk reduction and creating a more unified public response. Social cohesion also serves as a critical component driving social development, as it promotes inclusiveness and active involvement in decision-making. In 1994, a development organization was implementing a project in Samantrapur, India to provide drinking water to the villagers. The women resisted the institution of the project in response to being excluded from the decision-making process. In order to appease the women and enable participation in local decision-making, the project organizers provided females with basic literacy training, healthcare, and income generation via employment maintaining the water supply and toilet facilities. In doing so, the women were more deeply interwoven into the community fabric, increasing their stake in village politics.17 Social capital often refers to the nature and thickness of community bonds. Projects and initiatives that enable local community members to build social capital for collective benefits can reduce community vulnerability. For instance, in the Dominican Republic, the Dominican Disaster Mitigation Institute has adopted long-term strategies to build social capital by providing leadership workshops combined with trainings on disaster preparedness. This has led to a spillover effect where multiple communities have developed local women’s organizations and neighborhood associations. Community leaders are able to organize local people, establish disaster-response objectives, and institute effective measures to achieve these objectives.18
IV. Millennium Development Goals: A Critical Vehicle of International Development
At the U.N. Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders congregated in the United Nations Headquarters in New York to develop a tangible framework for the United Nations’ role in helping people build a better life in the 21st century. At the conclusion of the three-day Millennium Summit, 189 nations adopted the Millennium Declaration, from which the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were extracted.19 The Millennium Development Goals provide economic and social development guidance by outlining eight development goals, identifying 21 quantifiable and tangible targets, and developing 60 specific indicators for measuring development success. The following are the basic eight MDGs: • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger • Achieve universal primary education • Promote gender equality and empower women • Reduce child mortality • Improve maternal health • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases • Ensure environmental sustainability • Develop a global partnership for development By assessing the progress the international community has made toward accomplishing the MDGs, one can gauge the current status of international development.
MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Target 1a: Reduce the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day by half between 1990 and 2015.21 People living on less than $1.25 a day are defined as living in extreme poverty. In 1990, 42 percent of people in developing regions were living in extreme poverty. By 1999, the proportion was reduced to 31 percent and by 2005 only 25 percent of people in the developing world were still living in extreme poverty. In 2005, over 1.4 billion people considered extremely poor accounted for a quarter of the developing world’s population, as opposed to the 1.8 billion that accounted for almost half in 1990.22 Current projections suggest that overall poverty rates in the developing world will continue to fall, although at a slower rate. Beyond the population of persons living in poverty, development experts also consider the depth of poverty in assessing the magnitude of the issue. The overall average increase in income has enabled individuals to escape poverty and has alleviated the depth of poverty for those that still remain extremely poor. The rapid economic growth of China dramatically decreased the poverty rate in Eastern Asia and lifted almost 475 million people from extreme poverty.23 Progress has been slower in other regions, and growing populations in these regions have increased the proportion of destitute people. The poverty rate in sub-Saharan Africa remained above 50 percent, as the continent recorded 100 million more impoverished people in 2005 than in 1990.24 The
Millennium Development Goals Report 2009 predicts the likelihood of a 50 percent global eradication of extreme poverty by 2015; however, it is critical to acknowledge shortfalls in some regions and understand that one billion people will still remain in extreme poverty by the target date. Target 1b: Achieve full, productive, and decent work for all, including women and young people.25 The recent global economic crisis has reversed several encouraging employment and livelihood trends from the past decade. The crisis has particularly darkened prospects for the working poor. Worldwide price increases for energy and commodities in early 2008, later exacerbated by a severe economic slump, have negatively impacted working people living in extreme poverty. These employed people do not earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the $1.25-per-day poverty line. The proportion of employed people living on less than $1.25 a day in the developing world decreased from 41 percent in 1997 to 24 percent in 2007—an incredibly encouraging trend which was reversed in 2008 by an increase to 28 percent. In terms of gender equity, the employment-to-population ratio for adult women increased globally from 48 percent to 49 percent between 1998 and 2008.26 Despite this gradual increase, Northern Africa, Western Asia, and Southern Asia still have exceptionally low female employment-topopulation ratios, at almost half the ratio of their male counterparts. Individuals that engage in vulnerable employment are either unpaid workers who contribute to a family business, or own-account workers. Both populations lack worker safety nets for lost income during economic difficulties. Studies have found that economic turmoil and an increased engagement in vulnerable employment have a causative relationship. In 2008, over 80 percent of the female workforce in Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southern Asia engaged in vulnerable employment, and lacked an economic safety net. Furthermore, 67 percent of women and 60 percent of men in the developing-world workforce were own-account or contributing family workers, compared to the 9 percent of women and 12 percent of men in the developed world.27 Economic performance can largely be measured by a country’s labor productivity, an indicator that assesses a country’s ability to develop and sustain decent employment opportunities with fair and equitable compensation. With low or limited increases in productivity, an economy lacks the potential for job creation and workers experience stagnant wages. Economic growth is contingent upon productivity growth, which should be accompanied by education and training improvements to better equip the future workforce to meet the demands of potential jobs. Target 1c: Reduce the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by half between 1990 and 2015.28 It is imperative that governments, both developed and developing, implement strong actions to prevent a worldwide food crisis. Positive trends in ending hunger in the developing world have been set back by escalating food prices. While the proportion of undernourished people in developing regions dropped from 20 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2004, the proportion increased by 1 percent in 2008. In 2008, increases
in hunger were most evident in sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, and Eastern Asia (China excluded) due to rising regional food prices.29 Child nutrition, especially among vulnerable populations, should be given higher priority in national development. Adequate child nutrition is contingent upon a multiplicity of interdependent factors. A baby’s birth weight is largely dependent upon the nutritional health of the mother before and during the pregnancy. In turn, birth weight is a key determinant of a newborn’s chances for survival, growth, long-term health, and psychosocial development. The highest global rate of low birth weight and highest global incidence of underweight children occur in Southern Asia. A quarter of South Asian newborns weigh less than 2500 grams (5 pounds, 8 ounces)—the official lowbirth-weight marker.30 Nutrition is critical to child survival as it builds children’s immune systems and facilitates proper motor and cognitive development. 31 Unfortunately, the developing world has an notoriously bad track record for child nutrition and mortality: one in four children are underweight, 33 percent of child morality is attributable to malnutrition, and developing regions only experienced a 5 percent decline in underweight children, from 91 percent in 1997 to 86 percent in 2007.32 The stagnant rate of progress will not be sufficient to reduce the frequency of underweight individuals by half.
MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education
Target 2a: Ensure that all children everywhere complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015.33 While the number of primary-school-age children who are not in school has dropped by 33 million since 1999, 72 million children globally were denied an education in 2007. Within developing regions, a larger proportion of out-of-school children are comprised of girls, disabled children, poor children, and children of ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities. These groups are frequently subjected to unequal opportunities. Case studies have illustrated remarkable progress among countries that adopt public policies to address the poorest and most disadvantaged groups. Increases in enrollment of poor children are observed when school fees are abolished, schools are constructed in underserved areas, and teacher recruitment is increased. In developing regions, 88 percent of primary-school-age children were enrolled in 2007; this marks a 5 percent increase from 2000. Landmark enrollment increases have been achieved in sub-Saharan Africa, where enrollment increased 15 percent, and Southern Asia, where enrollment increased 11 percent between 2000 and 2007.34 Studies have associated improvements in school enrollment with increases in national spending on education. National spending for education is currently in serious danger due to the global economic crisis. While the sharp rise in enrollment of children in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia is encouraging, the global progress rate of school enrollment is too slow and irregular for the target to be achieved by 2015. The failure to achieve universal primary-school education will adversely impact other MDGs, as all the MDGs are interdependent to a certain extent.35 Evidence shows that children of women who have successfully completed primary school have a lower risk of mortality and are better nourished. In turn, parental literacy increases the likelihood of children to attend school. Moreover, education contributes to HIV prevention and
positively increases the probability of accessing decent employment.36
MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Target 3a: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.37 While the world failed to achieve gender parity in primary and secondary education by 2005, progress has been made. In developing regions, for every 100 boys, 95 girls were enrolled in primary school in 2007. This is a significant increase compared to the 91 girls in 1999. Utilizing adequate data available for 2007, only 53 of 171 countries had eliminated gender disparity in both primary and secondary education. Thus over 100 countries have yet to reach this target.38 Girls from rural communities or poor households face higher barriers to education, which are largely attributed to cultural attitudes and traditions that advocate for early marriage, the segregation of young girls, or the greater inherent value of boys. Publicpolicy initiatives that target specific issues can significantly contribute to promoting gender equality by eliminating barriers to education. For instance, local governments can eliminate school fees to alleviate financially-strapped households of additional burdens. In addition, local governments can fund and build schools near isolated communities and recruit teachers to increase access to education. Education attainment translates into greater opportunities for economic independence. Opportunities for paid employment remain insufficient in developing regions, particularly in Southern Asia, Northern Africa and Western Asia. Consequently, almost 66 percent of all employed women are engaged in vulnerable employment. However, globally, women’s political representation is gradually increasing, as exemplified by the 31 women who have reached the highest parliamentary positions in their governments as of January 2009.39
MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Target 4a: Reduce the child mortality rate among children under five by two-thirds.40 For all developing regions, the mortality rate for children under five years of age decreased from 103 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990, to 74 in 2007. Major breakthroughs are being made to combat measles. By 2007, 82 percent of children worldwide were immunized, dropping deaths attributed to measles by an incredible 74 percent. Worldwide coverage for routine measles immunization is steadily increasing. Yet child mortality levels are highest in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, which have shown scant progress.41
MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health
Target 5a: Reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters.42 The privilege of giving birth safely is enjoyed by the wealthy and desperately sought by the poor, especially in the developing world. Annually, almost a half a million women and girls die as a product of pregnancy complications, childbirth, or the six-week
recovery period after birth. Approximately 99 percent of maternal mortality occurs in developing countries, illustrating the vast gap in the quality of life between the rich and poor.43 Annually, almost 265,000 maternal deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and approximately 187,000 maternal deaths occur in Southern Asia. Together both regions account for 85 percent of all maternal deaths worldwide. Since 1995, however, all the world’s developing regions have increased the availability of skilled health personnel to assist in deliveries. This has increased the proportion of births accompanied by expert health personnel by 8 percent since 1990, to a total of 61 percent in 2007. However, over 50 percent of all births in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia still take place without the care of trained health personnel.44 Target 5b: Achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015.45 Less than half of all pregnant women in developing regions have the benefit of adequate prenatal care, which can prevent and treat many health problems among pregnant women. The proportion of pregnant women in the developing world who had at least one antenatal care visit increased from 64 percent to 79 percent, although global health experts recommend at least four antenatal visits. When pregnancy occurs at a very young age, both the mother’s and child’s livelihoods are threatened. When compared to women in their twenties, women who give birth at age 15 or younger have mortality rates five times higher. Early pregnancies are detrimental to the mother’s health and also hinder her educational endeavors, opportunities for social advancement, and economic independence.46
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Other Diseases
Target 6a: Stop and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.47 In 1996, the amount of newly infected HIV individuals peaked worldwide. The number had declined by 2007 to 2.7 million. Some countries in Asia, Latin America, and subSaharan Africa are responsible for this positive trend. On the other hand, in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, HIV infection frequency has increased twofold since 2001. While there is an overall decrease in new infection incidence, the amount of people living with HIV infections internationally continues to increase, largely since people living with HIV/AIDS are surviving longer. The estimated number of AIDS deaths peaked in 2005 at 2.2 million and has since declined to 2 million in 2007. Despite the decrease in new infections, sub-Saharan Africa remains the most adversely affected region by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 2007, individuals from sub-Saharan Africa disproportionately comprised over 33 percent of all new HIV infections and 38 percent of all AIDS deaths. Sixty-seven percent of people living with HIV reside in sub-Saharan Africa. Women account for 60 percent of those infected in sub-Saharan Africa. Accurate knowledge of the HIV infection and prevention measures is extremely low. In developing countries, approximately 31 percent of men and 19 percent of women demonstrate an accurate and thorough understanding of HIV. The achievement of this MDG is largely dependent upon the achievement and progress of universal primary education and eradication of gender disparity. Evidence has proven that comprehensive sex education, most efficiently delivered in classroom settings, can successfully change the attitudes and habits that lead to risky behavior among young adults.
The difficulty of child survival has been exacerbated by the prevalence of HIV infections and AIDS deaths, as almost 15 million children lost a mother, a father, or both parents to AIDS in 2007. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to almost 12 million of these affected children. In order to address the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children, many national governments began to address and integrate solutions into national development plans. Responses began to shift focus to the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children, action plans for child development, and policies regarding education and health development. Many children adversely affected by AIDS are from poor communities with low levels of education,. Instead of exclusively helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, a more cost-effective strategy would entail assisting all vulnerable children by addressing and eradicating barriers to basic education and healthcare.48 Target 6b: Achieve universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010.49 In 2007, access to antiretroviral drugs in developing regions increased by 47 percent compared to the previous year. In 2007, approximately 200,000 children received HIV treatment, compared to 75,000 children in 2005. However, in 2007, 69 percent of people who needed treatment still did not have access to the necessary drugs.50 Target 6c: Stop and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.51 The World Health Organization claims that approximately one million deaths occurred in 2006 due to malaria. Ninety-five percent of these malaria-related deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, largely among children under five years of age. The world’s least developed countries bear a disproportionate concentration of malaria-associated cases and deaths. In order to expand coverage for the prevention and treatment of major childhood diseases, countries should implement community-based frameworks for addressing childhood illnesses.52 These frameworks are tailored uniquely to address the specific contexts of issues, in order to implement more strategic and narrowly concentrated projects.
MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Target 7a: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into national policies, and reverse the loss of environmental resources.53 Collaborative international partnerships and comprehensive national policies have led to extraordinary progress in addressing the climate-change problem, which has already started affecting the planet’s people, plants, and animals. The 195 countries that adopted the Montreal Protocol collectively achieved a 97 percent reduction in emissions from 1986 to 2007, exemplifying the extraordinary progress that stems from effective national governance and international partnerships for sustainable development.54 Target 7b: Achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.55 National environmental agendas need to adopt more effective measures to protect threatened species and ecosystems. In 2008, only 12 percent of the planet, representing approximately 18 million square kilometers of land and 3 million square kilometers
of territorial waters, was protected by national legislation. Territorial waters represent less than 1 percent of the world’s ocean. Thus, 99 percent of the world’s ocean area is vulnerable to environmental degradation. Even with protective measures in place, poorly managed areas are exposed to continual exploitation by pollution, reckless tourism, infrastructure expansion, and increasing demands for natural resources, largely due to inefficient use. The developing regions of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean are responsible for an alarming rate of deforestation. An effort to reduce the rate of forest degradation will help alleviate climate-change impacts, as trees and plants reduce carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere by storing carbon.56 Furthermore, while the impact of fishing and other human activities increase the number of exploited fish populations, climate change is gradually altering marine and fresh water ecosystems by disturbing biological processes and food webs. In turn, communities that are dependent on fisheries are also affected by climate change, as their livelihoods depend on catching and selling seafood.57 Target 7c: Reduce the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by half.58 The majority of the world’s water flow is diverted for human uses including agriculture, industry, and municipal purposes, thus straining water’s ability to meet both human and environmental flow needs. Water needs to be used more efficiently for these purposes. Water scarcity is sustained by severe environmental dilapidation, declining groundwater availability, and biased water allocations. By 2006, over one billion people in the developing world experienced improved sanitation by gaining access to toilets and other aspects of sanitation development. Open defecation proves to be a large barrier to achieving the sanitation goal. Eighteen percent of the world’s population, 87 percent of whom live in rural areas, still practice open defecation despite the associated risks involved to their families and communities. While unsanitary water sources are critical to the livelihood of 884 million people worldwide, the world is still ahead of schedule in meeting the 2015 drinking-water target. Target 7d: Achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.59 Almost every region in the world has made progress in improving the lives of the urban poor. By 2005, the proportion of developing-region urban populations living in slums dropped to 26 percent. Slums are defined as areas that lack at least one of the following services: clean drinking water, access to improved sanitation, long-term housing, and sufficient living space.60
MDG 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
In 2008, official development assistance (ODA) from developed countries totaled $119.8
billion, roughly equivalent to 0.30 percent of the combined national income of developed countries. Only five countries were able to meet the United Nations target of giving 0.7 percent of their gross national income in total aid: Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. However, in 2008, the United States was the largest donor of aid in raw amount of money given.61 Target 8a: Address the special needs of the least developed countries.62 In 2005, G-8 members committed to double ODA to Africa by 2010. According to preliminary numbers, donors need to rapidly increase their aid to Africa if they want to fulfill their 2005 pledges.63 Target 8b: Develop an open, rule-based, predictable, and nondiscriminatory trading and financial system.64 In the global trade system, true preferential trade status is reserved mainly for least developed countries. In 2007, an increased proportion of total developed-country imports from developing countries were admitted duty-free. By 2007, almost 50 percent of exports from least developed countries were granted true preferential duty-free treatment. In addition, the fastest growing sector of world trade has become SouthSouth trade, regional trade that has instituted additional preferential-market-access mechanisms for least developed countries. Target 8c: Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt.65 In March 2009, 35 of 41 eligible countries accepted debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. In addition, countries received additional assistance in reducing their debt service from the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). While export revenues of developing economies were rapidly increasing in the past decade, export revenues of developing countries have declined more recently as a result of the global economic crisis. Thus, the agreed-upon conditions for debt-relief service are based upon artificially high predictions.6 Target 8d: In cooperation with the private sector, make the benefits of new technologies available, especially information and communications innovations.66 Information- and communication-infrastructure development is consistently characterized by uninterrupted growth. Developing countries had over 2 billion mobile cellular subscriptions before 2008. Mobile-telephone services provide new and critical communication mechanisms, as they increase access to voice communications, provide nonvoice alternatives such as Short Message Service, enable mobile banking and mobile commerce, and serve as a disaster-management tool. In addition, mobile communications in developing countries are increasingly making high-speed Internet available. In 2007, 64 percent of people living in developed regions utilized the Internet, starkly contrasting with the 13 percent who used it in developing regions. Internet access can facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those related to health, education, and poverty reduction, by providing a means to access critical information about education and income generation. Unfortunately, Internet
service remains expensive, and in turn unavailable to many potential consumers.68 V. Disaster Reduction and Efforts to Achieve the MDGs Disasters are a development constraint. Thus, acknowledging disaster risk and management as integral components of any development strategy is necessary in order to develop and implement sustainable-development strategies. In addition, experts must note the uneven geographic distribution of disasters. Some countries experience consistent, everyday natural disasters, and others experience rare yet major catastrophes, Moreover, other countries bear a disproportionate number of both scenarios. Certain geographic regions are characterized by specific disasters, such as droughts in sub-Saharan Africa, earthquakes in Central America, and tropical cyclones in the Pacific and Caribbean islands. While these basic hazards originate from geography, development processes have shaped human vulnerability and generated opportunities for disaster. Disasters slow down progress in achieving the MDGs. For example, families adversely affected by disaster often are already entrenched in poverty (MDG 1) and frequently neglect to send their children to school or lack the resources to do so (MDG 2). Moreover, disasters cause schools, health facilities, and other municipal services to temporarily or permanently shut down due to infrastructure damage (MDG 2). During floods and droughts, children are more susceptible to death by drowning, starvation, or disease (MDG 4, 6). The lack of access to basic healthcare facilities threatens the maintenance of maternal health, increases the risk of child mortality, and increases risks of disease infection among the already weakened population (MDG 4, 5, 6). Ultimately, failure to adequately incorporate disaster-risk assessment, management, and reduction into the implementation strategies for achieving the Millennium Development Goals will render any development strategy unstable, as demonstrated by the U.N. Millennium. Disasters directly and indirectly hinder development strategies that work towards fulfilling the MDGs.
MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger can be severely hindered by disasters. The Disaster Risk Index, a U.N.-sponsored disaster-reduction tool, proves thorough advanced statistical analysis the interdependence of human vulnerability with income levels and natural hazards. Reducing disaster risk is largely contingent upon alleviating poverty and vice versa, since exposure to hazards can prove detrimental to povertystricken populations that already lack access to basic nutrition. Individuals subject to long-term hunger lack the capacity to absorb and recover from disasters through coping mechanisms. In addition, disasters can destroy economic and social assets, leading to a more severe depth of poverty and hunger. Disasters such as earthquakes and floods can damage housing infrastructure, displace populations, ruin service infrastructure, debilitate the community’s ability to function, destroy productive assets, ruin income generation, and increase human loss. All of these consequences collectively contribute to intense disaster shock and stress. Indirectly, disasters negatively impact the macroeconomic mechanisms of a region, which may ultimately hinder the ability of individuals or communities to lift themselves from poverty and hunger. The complementary nature of disaster-risk reduction and poverty-eradication strategies will result in the implementation of costeffective development policies.
MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education
Disasters counteract efforts to provide universal primary education to boys and girls alike. Attaining basic education is fundamental in determining an individual’s vulnerability and marginalization. Individuals with basic literacy and numeric skills are able to engage in their communities through decision-making processes. Physical damage inflicted upon economic assets such as school buildings and transportation networks such as roads can severely hinder children from attending school. In addition, disasterinduced displacement interrupts schooling if children are temporarily forced to move from place to place, sometimes for long periods of time. Perhaps more important, disasters place further stress on already-limited household resources, forcing poor households to utilize resources for immediate survival instead of accumulating investments that will enhance their long-term prospects. Indirectly, disasters increase the workload stress upon women in the form of increased domestic work and additional activities for income generation. This need for increased domestic labor also impedes girls’ school attendance. In addition, ruined productive assets and a reduction in income generation decrease the households’ ability to pay for school.
MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Women bear a disproportionate amount of the adverse affects of disasters. Women play a pivotal role in shaping the risks in development, especially since they tend to have a heightened vulnerability and greater exposure to hazards. For example, many women tend to assume household responsibilities. This thereby increases their risk of harm due to substandard building construction, and exposure to hazards such as an inadequate water system or unhealthy smoke from cooking fuel. Women are also more likely to spearhead communal initiatives to reduce risk and improve development. In order to effectively utilize women’s social capital, barriers to participation in local decision-making must be overcome. Such barriers to entry can be weakened greatly by eradicating gender disparities in relation to education and other rights.
MDG 4: Reduce child mortality
Disasters threaten safeguards against child morality and amplify risks of premature death. Children under five are already vulnerable to everyday risks such as inadequate sanitation, contaminated drinking water, hunger, and exposure to major childhood diseases. Following a catastrophic disaster, children’s vulnerabilities are magnified as they lose caregivers and household-income earners. The stress of displacement also heavily strains their psychological and physical health. Thus, sustainable-development initiatives to reduce child mortality must strategically reduce disaster risk for children under five.
MDG 5: Improve maternal health
Environmental hazards greatly erode the financial savings of households and their capacity to recover from any additional hardships. In many cases, the most marginalized
people within households, with the least entitlement to resources, are women and girls. Risk-reduction strategies should work to reduce additional stresses upon household assets, thus enhancing maternal health. Officials should also take direct measures to improve maternal health through investments in education and health facilities, both of which will contribute to household resilience against disasters. In addition, when developing strategies to improve maternal health, practitioners must consider the long-term impacts of maternal health as they largely influence a child’s long-term health.
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
Many studies have documented the interactions between epidemiological status and human vulnerability to the aftermath stresses of disasters. For example, rural populations largely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic have a reduced capacity to cope with the impacts of drought due to labor shortage. In addition, following floods or drought, there is an increased threat from communicative and vector-borne diseases such as malaria and diarrhea. Disasters also increase respiratory diseases resulting from dust and air pollution. The destruction and limited access to safe drinking water, sanitation services, and healthcare facilities after catastrophic events can increase the risk of disease and premature mortality.
MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
It is possible for sustainable urban and rural environments to be obliterated by one-time major disasters or the accumulation of risk from persistent smaller events. Increasing instances of destruction due to landslides, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters related to environmental and land-use patterns clearly demonstrate the need to quickly and thoroughly achieve this MDG. In order to improve the lives of slum dwellers by 2020, development strategies must first address their high-risk exposure to earthquakes, tropical cyclones, landslides, flooding, and drought.
MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development69
Efforts to establish sustainable-development initiatives and reduce human vulnerability to natural hazards are often impeded by economic and political bureaucratic mechanisms. These mechanisms include national debt burdens, terms of trade flow, exorbitantly-priced pharmaceuticals, a lack of access to advanced technology, and the imminent hazards associated with global climate change. Difficulties in reaching mutual and sustainable international agreements on a variety of issues prevent the international community from achieving tangible development goals that address disaster risks and pressing development issues.
VI. Disaster-Risk Reduction and the Millennium Development Goals: Five Recommendations
The United Nations Development Programme’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery’s report, “Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development,” recommends five interdependent and interconnected strategies for reducing disaster:
1. Governance for risk management is needed to implement, monitor, and enforce the policies outlined in the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s “Framework to Guide and Monitor Disaster Risk Reduction.” Wide-scale adoption of this guide will help refine policies and methods, and build a database of best practices. 2. Disaster-risk assessment should be mainstreamed into developing planning. Prior to implementing development projects, officials should assess quantitative and qualitative environmental, economic, and social impact. Officials should also evaluate insurance-risk assessment methods. Actively assessing disaster risk will bring attention to environmental and social risk externalities that appear nonexistent at first glance. Moreover, explicitly utilizing disaster-risk assessments will enable a decisionmaking process in which a broad group of participants can be invited to debate levels of acceptable risk on a case-by-case basis. It is especially critical to factor in risk assessment during recovery and reconstruction efforts after disastrous events. 3. Integrated climate-risk management will further build upon an already existing disaster-risk capacity. As climate change progresses, the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, floods, and droughts are bound to increase. Collaboration between northern and southern governments and NGOs should maximize opportunities to adapt to and reduce the risk of climate change. Efforts to adapt to and reduce the risk of climate change should not overshadow efforts to mitigate climate change itself. 4. Managing the multifaceted nature of risk is critical in addressing the potential threats to life and livelihood presented by multiple hazards. Evidence shows that people and communities vulnerable to natural hazards are often exposed to other kinds of hazards. Developing countries should adopt effective disaster and overall hazard-reduction strategies. They should implement them in their national Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers to maximize the effectiveness of development planning. Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) are prepared by domestic stakeholders and development partners, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Each PRSP includes goals for the country’s economic policies over the next three years, in the interest of poverty reduction and promotion of growth. 5. Lastly, compensatory risk management, including improved disaster preparedness and response, is necessary to address today’s risk accumulation. Previous and existing development strategies will contribute to disaster prevention in the future. Risk-management organizations and government agencies should collaborate and share disaster-risk management tools, exchange best practices, and pioneer innovative preparedness-and-response strategies.70
These five proposals offer a thorough and interconnected strategy to reduce disaster risks associated with development processes. It is critical that all governments and agencies facilitating development practices integrate the above-mentioned strategies into their current policies to promote more sustainable international development. ENDNOTES
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69. United Nations, “Millennium Development Goals,” http://www.undp.org/mdg/basics.shtml. 70. Yasemin, “Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development,” (2004).
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Conventional Problems and Alternative Solutions in Education and the Trafficking in Children in India Patricia Aliperti, University of North Texas Abstract
The trafficking in children for forced and bonded labor is one of the worst forms of child labor. International and national policies target its elimination but the exploitation of children continues throughout the world. Numerous practices have arisen to prevent child trafficking including providing access to education. However, literacy by itself does not change the structural system that perpetuates inequality, which causes the trafficking of marginalized children. In addition, many communities exist in a culture of silence that enable their vulnerability to trafficking in children. This paper presents a framework to prevent child trafficking through the lens of critical pedagogy applied to formal and non-formal education by analyzing the role of the teacher, classroom practices, curriculum and standardized testing, and the banking concept of education. Thus, critical pedagogy that leads to a critical consciousness allows for the reflection of the world and its unjust power hierarchies to create action to transform the world in any social movement.
Trafficking in children for forced and bonded labor (BL) is one of the worst forms of child labor (WFCL). Estimates in 2004 place the number of economically active children ages 5-17 at 317.4 million, out of which 218 million were in child labor (CL) that requires elimination (Hagemann et al. 2006). Of these, 126 million were in the WFCL, with boys outnumbering girls. International Labor Organization estimates for 2000 indicate there are 8.4 million children involved in unconditional WFCL including 1.2 million in trafficking and 5.7 million in forced and BL (ILO-IPEC 2002). According to various reports, India has the largest number of child laborers in the world (ADB 2002). The Indian government estimates 11 to 17.5 million child laborers, many highly vulnerable to trafficking (ADB 2002) while unofficial estimates range from 60 to 115 million children, the majority of whom are Dalits, mostly working in agriculture with others picking rags, polishing gemstones, rolling beedi cigarettes, making bricks, working as domestics, packaging firecrackers, and weaving carpets and silk saris (HRW 2003). The elimination of CL and the international efforts to achieve Education for All (EFA) and Universal Primary Education (UPE) by 2015 – one of the Millennium Development Goals – are inextricably linked (ILO-IPEC 2007). On one hand, education prevents CL since children without access to quality education have few alternatives and may enter the labor market forced to work in exploitative and dangerous conditions. On the other hand, CL is a major obstacle to achieve EFA since working children cannot go to school. Those who combine school and work may suffer in their educational achievement and may drop out to enter employment fulltime. The illiteracy that results is in turn a strong predictor of poverty, and thus, unequal access to educational opportunities is linked to income inequality (Suas Educational n.d.). Human capital assumptions for primary education insist that the basic skills gained in primary education will result in increased income for the individual and in turn support a country’s economic growth.
This article will explore conventional problems and alternative solutions in education relative to the trafficking in children. The alternative framework referred to herein is not reduced to the treatment of letters and words in a mechanical manner. Instead, education is conceptualized as, in Paolo Freire’s words, “the relationship of learners to the world, mediated by the transforming practice of this world taking place in the very general milieu in which learners travel” (Freire and Macedo 1987, viii).
Methodology and Data Collection
The research for this study was conducted through the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), or Save the Childhood Movement, during two phases of field study in 2007 and 2008 at its rehabilitation centers: Bal Ashram, Mukti Ashram, and Balika Ashram. BBA’s vision is “to create a child friendly society, where all children are free from exploitation and receive free and quality education” while its mission is “to identify, liberate, rehabilitate and educate children in servitude through direct intervention, child and community participation, coalition building, consumer action, promoting ethical trade practices and mass mobilization” (BBA 2007). BBA conducts raid-and-rescue operations of establishments that use CL and rehabilitates the rescued children, including trafficked and bonded child laborers as well as child laborers, child beggars, and children at risk. Forty children were interviewed in structured interviews. Ten communities were also visited to conduct semi-structured interviews with parents, teachers, students, and community leaders on the role of education to prevent child exploitation, of which six were BBA’s Bal Mitra Gram [BMG], or child friendly villages. These villages reach BMG status after eliminating their high numbers of child laborers by mainstreaming them into formal schools. Staff from various NGOs were also interviewed.
Analytical Framework: Critical Pedagogy
The Freirean concept of critical pedagogy – which provides tools to better understand and combat the complex relationship between education and unequal political, cultural, and economic power (Apple 1999) – for conscientization to prevent oppression and exploitation such as child trafficking and BL is applied. Paulo Freire’s book Pedagogy of the Oppressed is the main driver for this research at a time when UPE and EFA initiatives call for quality in education. Critical pedagogy is referred to extensively as the desired pedagogy to teach the oppressed to achieve a critical consciousness to create/ demand their needed social changes and is used to examine the formal and non-formal education (NFE) presented.
II. Background of India Education in India
In 2002 the constitution was amended to guarantee free and compulsory education for children ages 6 to 14 but consequential legislation has still not been established (Ministry of Human 2008). A majority of states have introduced free education in classes 1 to 12 (Guo 2005). However, Kumar (2006) argues that education is not ‘free’. As Wada Na (2007) indicates, families spend as much as 350 rupees per child yearly for stationery, transportation, uniforms, and more if tuition is added.
The net primary enrollment rate is 89% (2005), females 85% with the ratio of females to males at .93 (UNDP 2008). However, The State of the World’s Children 2008 report indicates that the primary net school attendance ratio for 2000-2006 is 84% (UNICEF 2008). Only 73% of those entering primary school reach grade 5. The secondary gross enrollment rate (2000-06) is 63% for males and 50% for females. The dropout rate at primary levels 1-5 (2003-04) was 31.47% (33.74% of boys and 28.57% of girls) while the dropout rate in grades 1-8 was 52.32% (51.85% for boys and 52.92% for girls) (Govinda 2007). The secondary school dropout rate went from 82.5% in 1980-81 to 66% in 200102 (Guo 2005). These changes imply significant improvement in retention rates and access to education despite continuing challenges, which includes the 13,459,734 out-ofschool children (ages 6-13, 2006) representing 6.94% of all children (Govinda 2007).
Caste Discrimination in India
According to Jha and Jhingran (as cited in Sooryamoorthy 2007), Dalits, Muslims, and tribals are most affected in education with only 65% of enrolled children attending school regularly due to a plethora of factors: dysfunctional schools, high teacher absenteeism in remote schools, corporal punishment, low levels of perceived relevance of schooling among Muslims and tribals, gender differences across all social groups, children engaged in seasonal work, girls’ early marriage, and ineffectiveness of many schools as educational institutions. Of child laborers, the majority are Dalit children. There is lack of accountability to punish employers of child laborers because upper-caste community members dominate local political bodies, bonded labor vigilance committees, the police and judiciary, and child labor committees responsible for enforcing the laws. Corruption and apathy contribute to the denial of the problem. In schools, Dalit children face discrimination, exclusion, physical and psychological abuse, alienation, and segregation. Ninety-nine percent of Dalit students attend government schools with substandard facilities lacking basic infrastructure, teachers, classrooms, and teaching aids. Higher-caste community members discourage these children, perceiving their education as both a waste and a threat, believing Dalits, if educated, could threaten the village hierarchical power structure. Even the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) program has been opposed for Dalit children, and in many places, the meals are served in higher-caste localities, which Dalits cannot access (HRW 2007).
Of 27 million slaves in the world today (Bales 2004), India has the most – eight to ten million with most in some form of debt bondage, including children (Bales 2007). NGO estimates of child laborers vary from 60 to 115 million (Sen and Nair 2004). Employers prefer children because they are hard-working, cost less, and are easier to cheat, exploit, and intimidate. The rights of these children may be violated without protest or accountability. Often, in return for money advance or credit, children’s labor is pledged for an indefinite time period (Sen and Nair 2004). Even though the initial loans are small, the families are illiterate and unable to understand the moneylenders’ interest calculations.
Thus, children become bonded and/or trafficked to pay off debts. NGOs estimate 20 to 65 million bonded laborers in India in agriculture, stone quarries, brick kilns, jewelry, beedi making, rice factories, and carpet weaving (US Department of State 2008). According to HRW (as cited in Shakti Vahini 2004), of 40 million bonded laborers, at least 15 million are children, the majority being Dalits with bondage passed from one generation to the next. Of these 15 million, 52% to 87% of bonded child laborers are in agriculture (HRW as cited in Sen and Nair 2004). Many are also in bondage as domestic workers; in industries such as silk, beedi, saris, silver jewelry, gemstones, handwoven wool carpets, and footwear/sporting goods; and in services such as restaurants, tea shops, and truck stops. They are also found in begging, drug selling, petty crimes, and prostitution. Organ trading, forced marriage, adoption, entertainment such as circus, and sports such as camel racing may also involve trafficking (Sen and Nair 2004). According to Sen and Nair, a “culture of silence” in India prevails with the family’s and community’s passivity and inability to respond to the situation due to a lack of public awareness and action compounded by social indifference (316). Poverty and illiteracy are major factors compelling parents to send children to work in addition to lack of awareness and educational opportunities. Despite the established laws and efforts through raid and rescue, prosecution, and repatriation, overall enforcement of CL is inadequate due to insufficient resources, poorly trained inspectors, and social acceptance of CL (US Department of Labor 2008).
III. Analysis: Problems and Solutions in Education and the Trafficking in Children
Based on interviews and field visits, formal and NFE are explored through the lens of critical pedagogy and are analyzed focusing on the role of the teacher, classroom practices, curriculum and standardized testing, and the banking concept of education.
Illiteracy immobilizes people and impedes their ability to make decisions, to vote, and to participate in a political process. However, being illiterate does not necessarily obstruct one’s ability to choose what is best for oneself or to choose the best leader. Freire (1985) warns against expressions such as “eradication of illiteracy” because they appear to manifest people’s incapacity or lack of intelligence (7). When educators see illiteracy as something to eradicate, their solutions include mechanical reactions that reduce literacy to depositing letters and words that receivers repeat without any relationship to their world. Illiteracy is a concrete expression of an unjust social reality and as such it is not exclusively a pedagogical problem but a political one too. By negating the political nature of pedagogy, education gives the superficial appearance that it serves everyone, thus assuring its continuing function benefiting the dominant class (Freire and Macedo 1987). According to Stanley (as cited in Breunig 2006), public schools should be intentional about their main purpose, which should be the reconstruction of society to resolve current political, social, and cultural crises and to prepare learners to think critically. Freire identifies education as the one place where
societies and individuals are constructed, a social action that either domesticates or empowers learners (Shor 1993). While for Freire schools are the most important places to resist “enslavement to machineries of servitude,” they are not the only places for social transformation (McLaren and da Silva 1993, 83). One should not be despaired, however, that schools are not sufficient for social change as one should focus on the possibilities associated “with a commitment to forms of social alliances and movements that can help realize the most radical dream of democracy, the dream of freedom” (83). Freire recognizes that to implement a liberating education, political power is required, which the oppressed do not have (Freire 2000).
Bales (2007) states that teachers hardly take advantage of the power of education to combat slavery: “How many are trained to teach the skills needed to help someone keep their freedom?…how much do we spend to educate people against slavery?…how can we help teachers spread the word in the areas most at risk of slavery?” (28). These questions pose important implications for teacher training and the moral obligation of teachers to serve students’ best interests. However, in several villages visited vulnerable to child trafficking and BL, teacher absenteeism was a major concern. A study on teacher absenteeism in India found that 25% of teachers were absent in government primary schools during unannounced visits, with absences considerably lower in schools with better infrastructure (Kremer et al. 2005). Of those present, only 45% of teachers were actively teaching at the time of inspection. In addition to teacher absenteeism, villagers I interviewed also reported concern for the lack of MDM as they are important to reduce expenses of parents feeding children. Without meals, many children would not attend school regularly nor be motivated to learn (Ministry of Human 2008). These issues are directly related to preventing child trafficking. They also represent deeper implications of inequality and oppression that a critical pedagogy could transform. According to Pratham NGO, the MDM program functions very well in India, with teachers perhaps not teaching at all but children getting their meal. However, in my research in Ghina village, the community reported large-scale corruption in the local government regarding the MDM saying that education officers, teachers, and the cook do not give them the proper 100 grams and instead receive approximately 10 grams per meal. Villagers questioned why they should send their children to school if they do not get proper food. A teacher reported that he would be able to provide a better education if he had the proper resources, a better building with facilities for its 350 students, and support from the villagers to cook the MDM. He said there are seven teachers posted there but only three teaching regularly. He reported that a formal education benefits children not just to have a better future employment in the government or private sector but also to develop their mental knowledge capabilities and help their country by being good civilians aware of their rights. This particular teacher appears aware of the positive effects of a critical education but needs support to clarify his political views to pursue all the possibilities to benefit the village not only by demanding the proper schemes for education but also by expanding his own critical consciousness so he can apply a critical pedagogy to not create just “good civilians” but “critical civilians.” According to Govinda (2007), Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Orissa, and
others still require more teachers at lower and upper primary levels. Many teachers do not have professional training and more teachers are recruited on a contract basis to reduce expenses. The Diocesan Development and Welfare Society staff interviewed reported that quality of education differs in NFE run by NGOs. Although educated with a Bachelor of education, government teachers are mostly interested in the job security teaching provides even if they teach or not, and thus do not teach with dedication. On the other hand, although lacking degrees, NGO teachers are given capacitybuilding training and are liable for quality in education. A boy from Bal Vikas Ashram reported that the NFE from the ashram is better than in formal schools because his village teacher was always sleeping at school, and they lacked proper facilities. Another 14-year-old said the quality of his village education was not good because the teacher was often absent and children were disruptive. The boy added, “No one is able to learn with a teacher who cannot teach.” The director of Udayan NGO reported that government schools have vacancies but people do not want them because teaching is a low-status position. “NFE is just the basics, so they do not need better quality. Some teachers have a 7th or 10th grade education and become NFE teachers with training. In government schools, the government has specifications. They must be better educated.” However, a 17-year-old child from Bal Ashram believes that “non-government educators should help children since the government rule is that teachers only teach, and also help change government schools so teachers come regularly…NGO teachers may not have a master’s degree but should to teach properly.” Freire (2001) states that it is only by following what is considered one’s vocation that educators persist with great devotion and love despite low salaries and lack of resources. Freire (2004) reprimands teachers who fail to take their practice seriously by not studying – which makes their teaching poor – by teaching something they know poorly, or by not demanding to have the material conditions necessary to teach. These teachers disqualify themselves by failing to cooperate in forming the indispensable intellectual discipline of their students. Hinchey (1998) believes such teachers do not model dignity and respect for others, contributing to the impression that teaching takes little or no skill, that one does not need to be very bright to become a teacher, and that teachers are incompetent and lazy. According to Freire, teachers must remain consistent and rigorous in their teaching practice and understand that “teaching is not the lever for changing or transforming society, but…that social transformation is made by lots of small and great and big and humble tasks! [Teachers] have one of these tasks” (Shor and Freire 1987, 46). Education’s political nature is independent of educators’ subjectivity (Freire 1985). An educator must question the political options disguised as pedagogical to accommodate them in the existing structure: “The more conscious and committed they are, the more they understand that their role as educators requires them to take risks….Educators who do their job uncritically, just to preserve their jobs, have not yet grasped the political nature of education” (180). Teacher preparation must go beyond technical preparation and develop an ethical formation of self and history; not an “ethics of the market” that obeys the law of profit but a universal human ethic not afraid to condemn hegemonic ideological discourses that include the exploitation of labor and “the manipulation that
makes a rumor into truth and truth into a mere rumor” (Freire 2001, 23). To transform society, teachers must not wait for the establishment’s professional training but must form themselves, studying books, newspapers, the news, radio or television, and/or listening to everyday people in the streets (Shor and Freire 1987).
It is through putting ideas into words that learners transform their vague ideas into specific and coherent statements of meaning (Hinchey 1998). Dialogue, writing, and projects involving personal interaction can achieve this. However, when visiting village schools, the children were often corrected when they said something. Because students are corrected time and time again, Hinchey says that children soon learn to remain silent as the best strategy to avoid this humiliating judgmental process since the teacher is not listening to their ideas anyway. These hidden messages that maintain oppression is what Giroux (1988) calls the “hidden curriculum” in education (4). The hidden curriculum includes norms, values, beliefs, and messages conveyed silently to students through selecting specific forms of knowledge, using specific classroom and social relations, and the characteristics that define the school’s organizational structure. What students learn may be shaped more by the hidden curriculum than by the formal curriculum. The mechanisms of domination are thus mediated between the larger society and the schools, “particularly as they manifest themselves in the material practices of classroom social relationships, in the ideological practices of teachers, in the attitudes and behavior of students, and the classroom materials themselves” (201). Bernstein (as cited in Giroux 1988) highlights the features of the political nature of schooling in its ideological assumptions embedded in the three message systems in schools: the curriculum, the classroom pedagogical styles, and evaluation. Students learn norms and values “that would produce ‘good’ industrial workers. Students internalize values which stress a respect for authority, punctuality, cleanliness, docility, and conformity” (29). According to Jackson (as cited in Giroux 1988), the hidden curriculum is shaped by three key concepts: crowds, praise, and power. By working in classrooms, children learn to live in crowds meaning learning to constantly wait to use resources, how to be quiet, and how to be isolated in crowds. They must learn the virtue of patience – rooted in submission to authority – and to suffer in silence by denying and delaying their personal wishes and desires. Through praise by evaluation, children learn how to be evaluated as well as how to evaluate themselves and others. Praise and power are inextricably connected as exemplified by the positive and negative sanctions teachers impose as their symbol of power, evaluating not only the academic but also institutional adjustment and personal qualities. Thus, in these contexts, schools act more as agents of social control that socialize students to conform to the status quo than places where students are prepared to think critically about and intervene in the world where they live. Trafficked children socialized under such hidden curricula in Indian schools are the
docile, obedient, and trouble-free workers that all traffickers and managers desire, otherwise they must be molded to be so through physical violence or psychological coercion. According to the MSEMVS NGO director, when one teacher must teach 200 children, parents and students realize that their education will be bad and prefer to drop out. These large classes negatively affect children who become bored and may prefer to work than to study, increasing their vulnerability to trafficking. Despite pedagogical methods used, if teachers in India taught smaller classes, dropouts could be decreased while performance increased. Still, for teachers to fulfill their duty to educate, certain conditions are necessary: proper physical space, hygiene, aesthetic environment, etc., without which it is pedagogically impossible to operate (Freire 2001). These pedagogical spaces were largely lacking in numerous schools visited that lacked blackboards, toilets, and classrooms. In the Dalit village of Mai, a girl reported that only until she started leaving her village to go to upper primary school in a nearby village did she realize she was “different” from the other children. She said the teacher treated all children from her village differently, placing them in the back of the room and ignoring them as subjects in the class while she paid attention to those from higher castes. Compounded to the children’s caste is the children’s gender, with boys receiving more attention than girls. According to the report Hidden Apartheid (HRW 2007), teachers impart and maintain discriminatory attitudes in classrooms segregating Dalit children from non-Dalits during lunch, forbidding non-Dalits to sit next to Dalits or to touch their plates, and forcing them to sit in the back of the room. They also limit Dalit children’s class participation, requiring them to undertake custodial duties, grading them unjustifiably low, and subjecting them to verbal abuse and corporal punishment because of the view that “they cannot learn unless they are beaten” (96). Segregation encourages high dropout rates in the Dalit population and perpetuates “untouchability” by teaching non-Dalit children that it is an acceptable and necessary practice.
The Curriculum and Standardized Testing
Children also face discrimination at school in the admissions and evaluations process and encounter adverse teaching and learning conditions in the classroom (Govinda 2007). Many children remain excluded as little or no learning takes place. In a 2006 survey, it was found that approximately 40% of students could not read level I and II texts and could not do simple math of levels I-V. In addition, 70% could not recognize alphabets. The blanket curriculum exemplified by a minimum level of learning established by the Department of Education (Guo 2005) may actually hinder children’s education in a country as diverse as India. According to Sarangapani (2003), schools created for tribes in remote areas of India may ignore the children’s culture and native forms of knowledge formation. For example, the Baiga, categorized by the government as a primitive tribe, have access to an increasing number of government schools in the area through the Education Guarantee Scheme. However, mainstream books use a language and present scenarios, objects, and values that are alien to the Baiga and their children. Thus, parents do not compel their children to go to school since children do not like the monotony and harsh comments of teachers who consider them culturally
inferior as their culture is marked by non-hierarchical relationships between adults and children and by young learners’ autonomy and initiative-taking. The formal curriculum may actually endanger and contradict indigenous forms of learning. Indeed, tribal children are at an increased risk of trafficking for forced and BL. Nomad children used to autonomy also find a teacher-centered classroom unappealing as teachers resort to corporal punishment for what they consider undisciplined behavior and erratic attendance (Dyer 2001). This approach does not encourage the higher order cognitive skills associated with pastoralists, de-skilling them and contributing to ecological decline by not using their traditional knowledge. The Baiga’s case study is not uncommon. Many other groups share similar experiences that make their children more vulnerable to the WFCL. According to HRW (2007), a Mumbai NGO found that progressive curricula exclude mentioning caste discrimination or discuss the caste system suggesting that caste discrimination and inequities no longer exist. Even school textbooks may fail to mention caste discrimination, attempt to justify its origins or attribute Dalits’ unequal situation to their “ignorance, illiteracy and blind faith…because they still fail to realise [the] importance of education in life” (110). Kumar (n.d.) states that centralized examinations in India evaluate students to select those who can proceed further in their education. The examinations at the end of 10th and 12th grades are known for their high failure rates, seen as a sign of quality and rigor. The national success rates are less than 50% for 10th grade and less than 60% for 12th grade. Children in 5th and 8th grades also take district-level centralized examinations in some states, but there is no national database with results. By keeping a large proportion of children out of the educational process, these examinations force many to undertake job opportunities that may increase their risks of trafficking. MSEMVS NGO provides an innovative example of combining human rights education with NFE. Although teachers use the government’s formal curriculum, the NGO developed its own human rights curriculum to teach first graders about self-esteem, love, communication, how to talk to police and elders; second graders about the general function of the police, banks, and the government; third graders about children’s rights such as food, education, love, following the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); and fourth and fifth graders about CL and BL laws, constitutional rights such as freedom and equality to all castes free from exploitation, talking to elders and villagers, performing duties honestly, hygienic practices for better health such as water storage, community vigilance committees, and social movement campaigns for freedom such as farmers’ and the Dalit movements. This curriculum demonstrates innovativeness that identifies children not as passive recipients of letters and numbers but as active participants to perceive their environment as one needing change but full of possibilities. Learning their human rights in NFE, children learn to be active participants, and when they enter formal schools, they can continue to exercise their social agency to demand quality of education. With the growing impact of globalization and an economic system that perpetuates the economic exploitation and domination of millions, it is essential that the curriculum of NFE and/or human rights education include a critique through the lens of children’s lived experiences as rescued trafficked children from forced and BL so their critical
consciousness is awakened to struggle against their own exploitation
Banking Concept of Education
In mainstream schools, a good student is not one who is intractable or restless, who breaks with pre-established models, who reveals doubts and wants to know the reasons behind facts, who refuses to be an object, or who denounces a mediocre bureaucracy (Freire 1985). Instead, a good student is one who renounces critical thinking, who repeats and adjusts to models. This type of positivist education is “predictable, orderly, sequential, and managed by the teacher, who is the most important and knowledgeable person in the room” (Hinchey 1998, 50). The repression of questioning in education gives rise to what Freire (2000) calls a “banking” concept of education (72), which turns students into “receptacles to be filled by the teacher. The more completely she fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are” (72). Therefore, instead of communicating, the teacher deposits what the students must patiently receive, memorize, and repeat, impeding students from developing the critical consciousness which would result from intervening in the world as transformers of that world. Applying his critical consciousness, a boy from Bal Ashram, when he was 13, represented a challenge to the dominant power. When his village government school decided to charge students fees, he remembered reading that education should be free. He protested to the sub-divisional magistrate, a petition was filed, and the Jaipur Court ordered all money taken from parents to be returned by the school. Subsequently, the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission ordered schools in the state to not charge fees. This child’s consciousness of the injustices committed led him to challenge the established power, benefiting all children in his state. He is not the desirable student for the status quo in India. While visiting a fourth grade class in a NFE school in Varanasi, I asked children if they knew some of the rights to which children are entitled. One girl immediately recited children’s rights that included the right to play, food, love, and education. When I asked what she meant by the right to food, she was unable to reply. Most of the children also were silent when asked for their opinions, perhaps because they are not given many opportunities to speak out in class. These cases are exemplified by Freire when he states that mechanically memorizing descriptions does not constitute knowing the object (Freire and Macedo 1987). Therefore, reading texts as pure descriptions and memorizing them is “neither real reading nor does it result in knowledge of the object to which the text refers” (33). John Dewey considers education as miseducation when students must memorize and regurgitate meaningless information: How many students…were rendered callous to ideas, and how many lost the impetus to learn because of the way in which learning was experienced by them? How many acquired special skills by means of automatic drill so that their power of judgment and capacity to act intelligently in new situations was limited? How many came to associate the learning process with ennui and boredom? How many found what they did learn so foreign to the situations of life outside the school as to give them no power of control over the latter? (Dewey as cited in Hinchey 1998, 74)
According to Clarke (2003), teacher training in India attempts to transform pedagogy that consists of children listening, watching, reading aloud, copying, and memorizing textbook information. These activities are based on hierarchical relationships between teachers and students, characterized by deference and fear and discouraging peer interaction. In a study following teacher in-service training from the District Primary Education Program that observed 234 teachers and more than 8,000 students, Clarke states that the Indian hierarchical social framework restricts teachers from internalizing the concept of going down to the child’s level, their interests, needs, and prior knowledge. Teachers were the ones asking questions, implying the importance of their authority and command over valid knowledge, but rarely asked “why” or encouraged students to say why they think something should be done in a certain way and not another. Teachers also mainly responded to students by saying whether or not the answer was correct, rarely used cooperative group learning, and did not appropriate students’ knowledge as part of instruction – making knowledge and experience learned outside school irrelevant while treating what is learned in school as separate from students’ realities. Even after teacher training to incorporate activity and demonstration and not just repetition, teachers remained the primary players in the classroom. This hierarchical framework could be partly deconstructed by providing the opportunities for observation of new teaching styles imparted by NGOs applying a critical pedagogy. One of the most important tasks for a critical education is to enable conditions so learners partake in the “experience of assuming themselves as social, historical, thinking, communicating, transformative, creative persons; dreamers of possible utopias, capable of being angry because of a capacity to love…assuming themselves as ‘subject’ because of the capacity to recognize themselves as ‘object’” (Freire 2001, 45-46). A 13-year-old from Bal Ashram said, “In India no child should be working. That is my dream. Then everyone should be educated. If I reach an authority position, I will help Bal Ashram rescue…children in child labor to exit this evil.” At a young age, this child has the dream of a just world for children to enjoy their rights to receive an education. He already acted on this dream by conducting a rally for the school, motivating and helping 60 children from Bihar enroll in school. This is the power of a transformative education encouraged by dialogue. While students must be the subjects of their own learning by questioning and creating, the fact that they need the teachers’ help does not imply that the teacher nullifies the students’ responsibility and creativity for constructing their own knowledge (Freire and Macedo 1987). Teachers must not permit the repression of subjectivity and creativity in schools and should instead stimulate risk-taking so there is creativity, stimulating the possibilities for expression. Instead of reinforcing the mechanical repetition of material, educators should encourage students to doubt. What is pursued is not to profoundly comprehend the reality being analyzed but to develop a curious attitude so learners’ critical capacity as subjects of knowledge is stimulated, subjects challenged by the object to be known. Freire realizes that when a liberating teacher asks students to engage in dialogue and negotiate the class together, students may resist because they doubt that this is real
education (Shor 1993). Likewise, when engaging in a democratic process and critical problem-posing, students’ internalized authoritarian, dominant values are challenged, and they reject the attraction to question official knowledge, mainstream politics of their society, and their ideas of the world as they know it. As I observed during my first fieldwork in a cultural show of plays depicting CL issues by World Vision activists invited to Bal Ashram to learn from BBA’s practices, many students may still sit passively without challenging activists’ misinterpretations of the acceptance of CL and laws. However, the children living at Bal Ashram long-term are actively engaged to question any acceptance of exploitative CL. One boy stood up and pointed out to the activists their mistake in saying that children can work for an income after school hours, referring to the Child Labor Act that clearly states the minimum age for work to be 14. This empowering action is possible through the nature of Bal Ashram’s social class that allows for a dialectical method encouraging dialogue and critical consciousness. A liberating education does not necessarily mean that teachers should not lecture (Shor and Freire 1987). The difference between a traditional and a critical educator lies in the way a banking lecture sedates students versus a lecture illuminating reality through its content and dynamism, the way objects are approached to critically reorient students to society and to animate their critical thinking. After a lecture, the speech should be taken as an oral codification of a problem to be decodified by the teacher and students. The lecture must be a challenge to be unveiled and never a channel to simply transfer knowledge. For example, a lecture may be combined with writing one’s thinking on the theme which then is discussed in groups that will in turn select the group’s theme to present to class. Through this simple activity, teachers listen to the students’ knowledge that shows teachers how their students see the world through their experiences and perspectives. In Bal Ashram’s social classes, the lectures provided serve the purpose to reorient children’s worldviews away from the general acceptance of CL and exploitation of children’s rights. The issues presented are undertaken as a challenge to the children that they may act upon when they return to their communities. Although a radical classroom praxis may be understood theoretically, it may not be easy to implement in practice (Breunig 2006). It is a demanding way to teach and to learn, having to listen carefully to students and requiring different evaluations away from standardized testing, but the results are revolutionary and worthy of educators’ dedication.
Activists working in child trafficking prevention and teachers responsible for the education of vulnerable children should consider studying critical theory and critical pedagogy to develop a critical consciousness not only in students but also in communities. Awareness-raising and one-day workshops may motivate individuals for social change, but may not bring the concrete action achieved through conscientization. Freire’s pedagogy as a learner-centered dialogue problematizing generative themes from daily life and topical issues from society and academic subjects allows for problem-posing education so that communities themselves may become powerful agents of change (Shor 1993).
Freire does not provide any “how-to” information to put his theoretical ideas and experience into practice (Freire and Macedo 1987). Instead, Freire insists that his practices must be reinvented according to historical, political, social, cultural, and economic contexts; otherwise, he would be contributing to de-skilling educators by domesticating their minds. When literature refers to Freirean methods, it refers to a series of principles that must be reformulated constantly as different and constantly changing situations demand the interpretation of the principles in new ways (Freire 1998). The principles in Table 1 adapted from Shor (1993) are a useful organization of concepts that may serve as a guideline to make critical pedagogy adaptable not only for formal but also for NFE and human rights education. Table 1 1. Participatory Learners are asked to participate by decoding thematic problems in an interactive and cooperative learning environment with a lot of writing and discussing instead of listening to the teacher talk. 2. Situated The material presented is situated in the learners’ language and thought, relating the material to their conditions. 3. Critical Self-reflection and social reflection are encouraged to investigate how people know what they know, reflecting critically on their language and knowledge, subject matter, quality of learning, and the relation of knowledge to society. 4. Democratic Discourse is constructed by both learners and teachers, with learners having equal rights to speak in dialogues and to negotiate the curriculum. 5. Dialogic Dialogue is used for problems posed by teachers and learners. Teachers initiate it and guide it into deeper issues. Through questioning, learners own their education instead of passively receiving it. 6. Desocialization Dialogue as desocialization of passivity in classrooms, challenging learned anti-intellectualism and authority-dependence. Teachers are also desocialized from dominating teacher-talk to problem-posers and dialogue leaders. 7. Multicultural There is recognition of the various ethnic, racial, regional, age, and sexual cultures, taking a critical attitude to inequality and discrimination and examining the cultures of the dominant and dominated groups. 8. Research- Oriented Teacher researches classroom/community speech, behaviors, learner conditions, cogni99
tive and affective development. Learners are also expected to inquire about problems regarding daily experience, material presented, and society. 9. Activist Classroom is interactive and active based on cooperative learning, problem-posing, and participatory approach. Action outcomes are expected from critical dialogue inquiries. 10. Affective A democratic and critical classroom develops human feelings, social inquiry, and conceptual habits of mind. The dialogue, problem-posing method includes emotions from compassion to humor to indignation. Carr (2008) offers 15 points for educators to keep in mind to encourage introspection, reflection, thought, critical dialogue, and action to be more attuned to the needs of all learners (see adapted Table 2). These points must also be considered by formal/NFE, vocational, and human rights educators if education is to create the essential environment to prevent child trafficking. Table 2 1. Accept that no one knows everything; educators can always learn since learning is never complete. 2. Content is never devoid of context as diverse issues frame how culture is shaped and students have concrete needs and realities. 3. Working locally, understanding how issues are interconnected internationally and how achieving changes locally can influence broader political spaces. 4. Understand how the media may undermine education and support hegemonic forces. 5. History is not uni-dimensional but multi-dimensionally shaped, defined, presented and connected to contemporary times; one must be concerned with the construction and various interpretations of history. 6. Understand culture critically – race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, family, and lived experience – to see its effects on society and its underlying power relations. 7. Problematize war, and fight for peace, including questioning the military. 8. Internalize humility as a virtue to exemplify and inculcate decency, fairness, and respect. 9. Avoid being a follower that limits divergent, original, and critical thought for fear of standing alone. 10. Accept that educators are political, associated with grasping the nature of power in their actions, thinking and societal conventions. 11. Read, write, and seek information outside of mainstream culture to use resources and situations that relate to students’ realities and avoid teaching all students with the same techniques to deliver the same worldview.
12. Problematize the wealth discrepancies, but also the importance of money as an indicator of value and worth affecting society, and particularly schools of the less affluent. 13. Consider that there is hope for all students and for education to lead to transformational change in individuals, communities, societies, and the international arena. 14. Examine important events, people, and experiences in one’s own education to become more attuned to how students may be experiencing learning and one’s teaching. 15. Affirm that one can be an agent of change and influence one’s immediate and even broader environment daily on a number of issues. If the reader assumes these points are only applicable to teachers from the industrialized countries or to educators with access to resources in developing countries, then they must reconceptualize the notions of hope and possibility that many educators already employ throughout the world despite inconceivable conditions. Rural schools and NFE in India are not the exception for the potential of social change; prevention of child trafficking is possible only through a critical education. Even if the educator adopts all 25 points listed above, unawareness of the hidden curriculum may undermine their efforts that encourage children to drop out and increase their vulnerability to trafficking. Thus, in whatever form education may take, educators must become aware of this curriculum that may perpetuate messages of inequality and domination. According to Giroux (1988), once the hidden curriculum becomes visible, both educators and learners become more sensitive to recognize and alter its effects. Educators must reframe their teaching methods to include the development of respect for moral commitment, social responsibility, and group solidarity in a non-authoritarian manner fostering group cooperation and social awareness while learners must be made aware of the need to develop their own choices and act upon them understanding any situational constraints. They must integrate critical consciousness, social processes, and social action into their lives so they understand how forces of social control operate to overcome them. Group work and interaction help learners realize that they can learn from each other while minimizing the traditional manipulative role of the educator/ activist. Dialogue offsets the hidden curriculum’s emphasis on competition and authority by supporting the dynamics of participatory democracy, not only in formal education for children but in all kinds of education (Giroux 1988). In formal/NFE, learners should be allowed to learn at their own pace so they may develop an appropriate learning style. Tracking students according to abilities should be changed so students who perform faster than others could act as individual or group leaders for others, encouraging a collective act in the learning and teaching process – or they could consciously treat it as an apprenticeship in teaching. The issue of authority and grades should also be adapted so extrinsic rewards are minimized and dialogical grading – involving a dialogue between teachers and students to decide the function, criteria, and consequences of evaluation – is increased so students may gain some control over grade distribution. If
one follows these recommendations, social relations in education that perpetuate subordination, dominance, and unquestionable respect for authority may be minimized. One must also be mindful of the danger that critical pedagogy could be appropriated by groups who would manipulate its potential in order to perpetuate the dominant ideology (Andrade 2007). Thus, critical pedagogy appears more suitable to be implemented by alternative venues such as NFE, independent and private schools, professional development for teachers undertaken by social movements, and NGO activists. A radical education through formal or NFE must be expanded by NGOs already applying critical pedagogy and provide training so critical educators may reach those children still ignored by the system and without the option of education because of lack of awareness or extreme poverty that perpetuate their vulnerability to trafficking. In addition, in order to empower communities to take action for their needed changes, human rights education that applies the dialogical Freirean method must be adapted to conscientize people to fight against the ideological hegemony that keeps them submerged in a culture of silence including the caste system, gender, and class and acceptance of child exploitative labor.
Trafficking in children for forced and BL is not an inevitability. It is the result of myriad factors including economic globalization and technological/scientific advances that lack ethics to serve the interests of all human beings. Freire sees a vital role for subjectivity and consciousness in the making of history. Therefore, in transforming society, “the important task is not to take power but to reinvent power. Without falling into an idealistic view or a mechanical explanation of history…education…has a lot to do with the reinvention of power” (Freire 1985, 179). Not only can thinkers, educators, and scholars lead in this reinvention but also civil society and NGO activists by rising people’s voices from below. It is essential to investigate through dialogue the structural, socioeconomic, and geo-political inequalities that create vulnerability and characterize large numbers of trafficked children for forced and BL. Awareness-raising alone may not reach those children and communities at most risk of trafficking. As a Romanian trafficked girl said about an anti-trafficking poster, “This poster looks very nice, but it wouldn’t have made any difference to me” (Save the Children 2004, 54). Actively engaging children and communities in dialogue to ask questions and express their opinions aids educators to understand their worldviews to then present the contradictions that could empower them to undertake changes for their communities. Providing children and communities with the tools and information to build their capacity to defend their rights is necessary not only for the anti-trafficking movement but also for sustainable lifelong change. A critical education gives access to ways of thinking about the world and the tools to understand why it is the way it is and how it should be and the means to act to transform it. History is not deterministic, but it is made by individuals. It has demonstrated how education is instrumental in combating CL, establishing a skilled workforce, and in promoting development based on social justice (Matsuno and Blagbrough 2006). An ad102
equate education is a prerequisite for earning a livelihood to break the cycle of poverty worldwide. However, education is only one piece of prevention. First, education must apply concepts of critical pedagogy. Second, effective legislature, law enforcement, livelihood options, implementation of schemes, and collaboration and participation of all stakeholders to prevent child trafficking are also essential – that could be demanded through conscientization. Critical pedagogy can help people understand the structural oppression that keeps them subjugated in the social system that exploits them economically. It can empower the oppressed to challenge the status quo as they realize the historicity of knowledge to replace their passivity with self-agency to create a better world. Decision-making for change must rest in the hands of the oppressed in the societies concerned. Only then can transcendent changes occur within structures that presently perpetuate inequalities and injustice that create and recreate the problem of child trafficking for forced and BL.
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